Ethical issues in E-commerce – consumer privacy

Ecommerce business transactions involve data being stored and transmitted electrically. Accessing a website, providing personal information, ordering products, arranging payment via credit or debit cards, etc all occur without customers’ control. Privacy in ecommerce transactions therefore is a leading concern for consumers. Cookies are the most common privacy concern to customers. Cookies enable web servers to store information such as shopping cart items on the user’s device or to track the user's browsing activity (including clicking particular buttons, logging, or recording which pages were visited in the past).

Managing ethical dilemmas (in Ecommerce)

Ethical, social and political issues are closely connected and usually display themselves as dilemmas. An ethical dilemma is a term used to describes the situation where there is a requirement to choose among conflicting options where each option has its own ethical consequences. There are usually ethical, social and political dimensions to an ethical dilemma. The relationships among ethical, social and political dimensions concerning e-commerce are illustrated below.

Ethics in Ecommerce – Basic concepts

It is assumed that ethics is the core element of both social and political considerations of doing business through Internet, or e-commerce. In fact, there are four principles that guide the moral actions of an individual as well as an organization or company in e-commerce which are responsibility, accountability, liability and due process. Responsibility holds the idea of accepting duties, obligations and also potential costs of which decisions are made. Accountability features an instrument of determining who has to take account on the consequences of the actions, individual or the whole organization.