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Legal & moral issues in e commerce



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  • 1. Legal & Moral issues in e-commerce Background information
  • 2. 1. Data Protection Act
    • DPA (1984) grew out of public concern over personal privacy during rapidly developing computer technology
    • Individual rights are protected
    • Information needs to be handled correctly
    • People who use data on individuals need to be open and follow set practices
  • 3.
    • DPA updated in 1998
    • Now incorporates European Data Directive (2000)
    • Also covers some manual data
  • 4. Principles – data must be:
    • Fairly and lawfully processed
    • Processed for limited purposes
    • Adequate, relevant and not excessive
    • Accurate
    • Not kept longer than necessary
    • Processed in accordance with subject’s rights
    • Secure
    • Not transferred to countries without protection
  • 5. Useful phrases
    • Personal data (on living individuals)
    • Automatically processed (by a computer – doesn’t cover manual paper records)
    • Data Users (controllers of personal data)
    • Data subjects (individuals whose files are kept)
  • 6.
    • Data Protection registrar – keeps a register of data users, promotes data protection principles, considers complaints and prosecutes offenders
    • Exemptions – payroll, pensions & accounts; no right to access data collected for statistical purposes,tax, crime and national security
  • 7. Rights of data subjects
    • Compensation for unauthorised disclosure
    • Compensation for inaccurate data
    • Erase inaccuracies
    • Compensation for unauthorised access, loss or destruction of data
  • 8. 2. Copyright Act
    • Copyright Designs & Patents Act (1988)
    • Includes software, music and literature
    • You cannot:
      • Copy software
      • Run pirate software
      • Transmit software to make copies available
  • 9.
    • Bootlegged software available via filesharing sites accounts for 40% of US software and 100% in Indonesia
    • Companies sue over “look and feel” of similar software (ie Apple invented the GUI, unsuccessfully sued MS over Windows)
    • Companies often put ‘fingerprints’ into code to spot engineers who copy designs
  • 10. 3. Misuse of Computers Act
    • Computer Misuse Act (1990) followed hacking scandals of the 1980s when it was not illegal
    • Criminal offences dealt with hacking, viruses and other nuisances
  • 11.
    • Under the Computer Misuse Act, it is an offence to:
    • Unauthorised access to computer programs or data
    • Unauthorised access with further criminal intent
    • Unauthorised modification of computer material (ie. Programs of data)
  • 12. 4. Moral issues
    • Civil liberties groups try to protect privacy, free expression, access to online information
    • Civil liberties groups include those trying to protect the history of minorties and the storage of your personal data
    • Electronic Frontier Foundation challenge “remote attestation” – some companies ‘own’ the software on your computer and often force you into expensive upgrades
  • 13.
    • More issues:
      • Access to personal information made available through search engines, what web sites have you visited?
      • Online stores target adverts based on browsing habits to encourage you to spend
      • Windows XP / MS Office designed to send and store personal data on your computer
      • Some personal information kept may be accessible to stalkers etc; child safety issue too
  • 14. Examples used to illustrate - DPA
    • Cookies
    • CRB – Computer Records Bureau
    • Collection of IP addresses
    • CCTV use
    • Identity theft
    • Stolen credit/debit card data -swiping
    • E-mail surveillance – reading your e-mails
  • 15. Examples – Misuse Act
    • Denial Of Service attacks
    • Virus/worms/trojans
    • Phishing for data
    • E-mail bombing
    • Hacking via open ports (ie. Your printer that you always leave on)
    • WiFi piggy-backing