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Business In It Decesion-Making Model Analysis Paper

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Web Site - Legal and Ethical Issues

The Internet and E-Commerce, it is important to remember that there are many legal and ethical issues to consider for web site to address. When it comes to legal issues, laws are enacted by governments and developed through case precedents (common law). Laws are intended to be strict, and the legal rules govern the acts of all citizens within their jurisdictions. So those who break the law have done something illegal and can be held liable for punishment by the legal system.

On the other hand, "ethics is a branch of philosophy that deals with what is considered to be right and wrong" (Turban et al. 2002, p.644). However, what is unethical is not always seen as illegal unless the action is also illegal. Overall society will agree on what is considered to be right or wrong.

In a world of E-Commerce, companies using Web sites to conduct business, need to adhere to the same ethical standards that other businesses follow. According to Schneider (2003, p.308) businesses that fail to adhere to these ethical standards will suffer the consequences that all companies suffer. These include; a damaged reputation and long-term loss of trust which may result in the loss of business.

While E-Commerce opens up a whole new world of unregulated activity, the definitions of right and wrong are not always clear. People engaging in E-Commerce need guidelines as to what behaviors are reasonable under any given set of circumstances (Turban et al. 2002, p.644). However, the differences in cultures throughout the world have resulted in different expectations about ethical and legal issues associated with E-Commerce. What is unethical in one culture may be perfectly acceptable in another. According to Turban et al. (2002, p.644) many Western countries have a much higher concern for individuals and their privacy than do some Asian countries. Many European countries have laws that prohibit companies from exchanging consumer data without the express consent of the consumer. However, in Asia, more emphasis is placed on the benefits that information about consumer behavior provides, to society, rather than on the rights of the individual.

Many web site companies develop their own codes of ethics as a guide for its members to follow. Mason et al (cited in Turban et al. 2000, p.343) categorized ethical and legal issues into privacy, intellectual property rights, free speech versus censorship and consumer and merchant protection against fraud.

Privacy: the collection, storage, and dissemination of information about individuals. Internet users in many countries rate privacy as their first or second top concerns.

Consumer and merchant protection

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