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To Consent or Not to Consent

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To Consent or Not To Consent
Bruce Ridley
Colorado Technical University On-line
Composition: Writing and Research
ENGL103-1601A-04
Elke Kleisch
February 07, 2016

To Consent or Not To Consent
“ You have no privacy – get over it”, declared CEO of Sun Microsystems ( now Oracle) Scott McNealy in 1999; according to Parent (2007). When strong statements are made proclaiming consumer privacy is being compromised, that's justification for concerns. With on-line activities and communications on the rise, consumers need to be aware of what they are consenting to with the aide of government regulations. In the following paragraphs, we'll discuss consumer concerns, possible fixes to these issues and explain why further regulations are needed.
Consumer awareness is very important. The majority of the time, consumers just click accept when gaining access to sites on-line. According to Meinert, Peterson, Criswell II, & Crossland (2006) consumers rarely read privacy policies. One reason for the lack of interest, could be the legal jargon written throughout the policies. Another reason for not reading policies is that in order to use the services being offered, you must agree to the terms and conditions. Once the terms are accepted, consumer privacies are being exploited.
Data gathering or collecting starts when you agree to the terms of the consent policy (Farah, & Higby, 2001). Using cookies and a application called a sniffer, marketers gather data to build a profile of every consumer using their site. This anonymous data mining can be seen as a form of privacy violation. With these kind of tactics , it is not difficult to understand why consumer trust is low ( Meinert et al., 2006). One of the biggest concerns is merchants selling or disclosing consumer personal data (Farah, & Higby, 2001). The data is sold to build a personalization marketing profile to target and influence consumer buying habits ( Seungsin, Younghee, & Joing-In, 2015).
Even though consumer trust is low, there are always suggestions to make improvements. Confidential, integrity, availability, access control, authentication, non-repudiation (Parent, 2007) and government regulation are a few ways to improve consumer trust. Confidentiality pertaining to personal data not being altered and only viewed by the merchants whom site you visited. Integrity, not taking advantage of the governments lack of regulation. Availability of records should only be for intended merchants, and only used for in house agendas to develop marketing schemes. Access control should be put into place. This would limit who has the privilege to view consumer data. According to Parent (2007) the best form of authentication would be setting up a system where identifying people who want to access data; can prove they are before obtaining the data. Most importantly, setting up a system of non-repudiation.
Government regulations would be a key addition to forming consumer trust. With non government interference, E-commerce is currently self regulating (Farah, & Higby, 2001). Due to this fact, many variabilities were found during examining different websites (Meinert el al, 2006). The US Congress has been considering legislative options to address these concerns (Farah, & Higby, 2001). With aide of government regulations, consumer rights would increase dramatically and set the standard across all websites. This would even allow consumers the right to “opt-in” for data sharing, rather than not be allowed to use the services for opting out (Farah, & Higby, 2001).
E-commerce currently has consumer protection in place. Truste was the first privacy seal program set up (Farah, & Higby, 2001). This type of program requires websites to practice fair information practices in order to display privacy seals on its site. This is a good effort but cookies and sniffers still allow for consumer data to be exchanged or sold without the explicit knowledge of the consumer.
Consenting to privacy terms and conditions, are not always done fairly. Consumers tend to go shopping not completely aware of what they are agreeing to before starting their purchase or on-line membership. On-line sites should not be allowed to self regulate due to inconsistencies across websites. Consumers should have the right to withhold their personal data in order to shop and use the Internet in complete privacy. In the above paragraphs, we discuss concerns, fixes and aides in making consumer privacy number one when it comes to E-commerce. Thus keeping with the fact that E-commerce should not be allowed to self regulate.

References
Farah, B. N., & Higby, M. A. (2001). E-Commerce and Privacy: Conflict and Opportunity. Journal Of Education For Business, 76(6), 303-307.

Meinert, D. B., Peterson, D. K., Criswell II, J. R., & Crossland (2006). Would Regulation of Web Site Privacy Policy Statements Increase Consumer Trust?. Informing Science, 9123-142

Parent, M. (2007, December). The 6th and Biggest Lie of All: Lessons From A Decade of E-Tailing. Ivey Business Journal. Retrieved from Ebsco host database.

SEUNGSIN, L., YOUNGHEE, L., JOING-IN, L., & JUNGKUN, P. (2015). PERSONALIZED E-SERVICES: CONSUMER PRIVACY CONCERN AND INFORMATION SHARING. Social Behavior & Personality: An International Journal, 43(5), 729-740. doi:10.2224/sbp.2015.43.5.729…...

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