Privacy Studies in Information Systems
Privacy in business web environments – my privacy is compromised what can I do?
In the field of business, ecommerce can be defined as the online transaction of business, featuring
linked computer systems of the vendor, host, and buyer. Electronic transactions involve the transfer
of ownership or rights to use a good or service and also for the transfer of payments. ECommerce
can be divided into the following:
E-tailing or "virtual storefronts" on Web sites with online catalogues, sometimes gathered
into a "virtual mall”.
The gathering and use of demographic data through Web contacts.
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), the business-to-business exchange of data e-mail and fax
and their use as media for reaching prospects and established customers (for example, with
Business-to-business buying and selling (B2B).
Ecommerce has totally change commerce, now with a click of a button one can purchase an
item, fill forms and do many activities once unprecedented. However, there is the main concern
of many users of eCommerce products on how safe it is. Can people world wide trust the World
Wide Web and can it guarantee that their privacy and information put out is secure? A study
conducted pointed out that since transactions in the internet occur without personal contact;
consumers are generally concerned with the legitimacy of the vendor and authenticity of the
products or services. Lack of trust is the main reason consumers may not purchase from internet
vendors. According to the ecommerce journal it illustrated that over 50% of small businesses in
the UK had fallen prey to fraud or cybercrime. The report also revealed that 37% encountered
phishing emails, 15% were victims to card not present fraud and 15% were attacked by viruses
and hacker break in.
‘Trust’ is a mutual ideology that involves the client and the merchant’s web site, commerce
typically requires that clients trust the merchant with sensitive data – credit card numbers,
home addresses, preferences, health information etc. An important issue with web sites is
customer registration. It is noted that most sites take customer details even if they do not at the
end make any transaction, and as such customers may be weary with the abuse of their details.
Customers are more likely to trust merchants with pre-established reputations. For instance
eBay, Amazon and PayPal have established themselves as a very reliable commerce site and as
such clients will feel very comfortable in using them. Another important reason for trust when is
that it guarantees to the seller that no one will be able to acquire the goods without paying the
price the seller demands. The corresponding expectation on the part of the buyer is that goods
paid for will be delivered in a timely manner and will be as represented. The trustworthiness of a
potential on-line merchant can be increased by authentication, credit worthiness verification, or
by establishing a contract or obtainin