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E-Business, Management Textbook, Workbook

Other Issues in E-Business : Chapter 24

Consumer protection laws for cyberspace differ from country to country and court judgments passed in one country are often unenforceable in another country. This makes it difficult for online consumers to protect their rights. The increasing rate of cyber crime all over the world has made governments realize the need for cyber laws. In 1986, the CFAA were passed in the US to prosecute hackers.

The Act can be applied to any individual if he tries to access a system without having the required authorization. Another serious crime in cyberspace is credit card fraud. Credit card abuse laws have declared that disclosing, using and distributing credit card information of one individual to another with the intention to defraud, is a crime.

The US law declares that the possession of software to generate codes (that can help obtain the code of a stolen credit card) is a crime. The trading of pirated software is a billion dollar business. The web facilitates free trafficking of illegal copies of copyrighted software.

Many countries have framed laws to deal with software piracy. It is illegal to advertise or transfer or download copies of pirated software on the web. Hackers send harmful viruses over the Internet which can destroy data and cause huge losses to organizations. The cyber laws of many countries impose heavy penalties and imprisonment on people responsible for spreading viruses.

The ECP Act seeks to protect the privacy of users and businesses by declaring it illegal to intercept the communication on the Internet without any authorization. Some of the problems faced by companies marketing their products and services on the web are volatility, trust, and locus.

Online players operate in a highly volatile environment because of precarious consumer demands. The revenues, share prices, and customer response to a website may rise to peak at some points of time and may dwindle later. Customer confidence is vital for e-commerce players.

They have to sustain and enhance customer confidence by offering user-friendly features and deploying advanced technology and security systems. The locus of an online customer is not restricted to a desktop computer. He may access the same website from different devices such as a mobile phone, PDA, or laptop at different times. An online player needs to provide the best quality of services to the customer irrespective of the medium he uses to access the company.

The major technical problems faced by online players are differences in application platforms, problems in communication and scarcity of skills. Online players also need to deal with legal issues regarding similarity in domain names, website content, and features. In the absence of a uniform regulatory framework for e-commerce, businesses are finding it difficult to combat cyber crime. Public and private agencies, and businesses across the world have to work together to form comprehensive and uniform laws that are universally enforceable.

Chapter 24 : Overview

Consumer Protection
Cyber Crimes and Cyber Laws
Market Issues

Technical Issues
Legal Issues