E-Commerce and privacy: Conflict and opportunity

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Computer Information Systems


As e-commerce expands, Web sites increasingly collect, process, and sometimes divulge personal information about their customers without the customers' consent. In light of the limited success of several e-commerce initiatives to guard privacy, the Federal Trade Commission has recommended that Congress consider legislation similar to that existing in the European Union to guarantee customers' privacy online. The authors discuss the conflict between the e-commerce community's need to collect data and customers' desire to protect their privacy, the privacy tools available to deal with these issues, the possible impact of privacy laws on the future profitability of e-commerce firms, and privacy as a component of any course involving e-commerce.