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Ethical, Legal and Regulatory Issue Differences B2b Vs. B2c

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In a continuance of the differences between B2B vs. B2C web sites, this week's paper will cover how the sites manage ethical, legal and regulatory issues.

Ethical Issues facing B2B and B2C sites

There are several definitions of the work ethics. One definition of ethics is the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation. It can also be defined as a set of moral principles or values, a theory or system of moral values and the principles of conduct governing an individual or group, such as professional ethics. (, 2005).

B2B (Business to Business) web sites share mutual information with each other, so ethics in this situation are important. Privacy is important and should be protected through whatever technical and legal means possible. In the business environment, there are codes of ethics that are developed by the organizations, such as trade unions, which have developed them. For example the ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct were created by the Association for Computing Machinery. It is stated in the Preamble that Commitment to ethical professional conduct is expected of every member (voting members, associate members, and student members) of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). (P. Mateti).

The ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct also includes information covering B2C web sites. The information that would cover ethical actions that would relate directly to the public is covered in Section 1.2 Avoid harm to others, paragraph 1:

"Harm" means injury or negative consequences, such as undesirable loss of information, loss of property, property damage, or unwanted environmental inmates. This principle prohibits use of computing technology in ways to result in harm to any of the following: users, the general public, employees, employers. Harmful actions include intentional destruction or modifications of files and programs leading to serious loss of resources or unnecessary expenditure of human resources such as the time and effort required to purge systems of "computer viruses." (P. Mateti).

The ACM Code of ethics is a good guideline for all businesses to follow. After reading it over, the importance of trust and honesty as a definition of ethical behavior stands out the most. If all web sites follow this guideline, there would be less of a chance of harm coming to anyone.

Legal Issues facing B2B and B2C sites

Legal issues facing both B2B and B2C sites can include copyright infringement. The "Digital Millennium Copyright Act" covers such infringements. A web site needs to beware of other web sites that may copy its website, to market a product not endorsed by the web site. ( It would appear to consumers and other businesses that your web site is endorsing a product that they really are not, and the organization that is infringing on the web site, would be making sales dishonestly.

A B2C web site could face the legal issue of identity theft of a consumer and internet fraud. According to the Federal Trade Commission: Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information such as your name, Social Security number, credit card number or other identifying information, without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes. Identity theft is a serious crime. People whose identities have been stolen can spend months or years - and their hard-earned money - cleaning up the mess thieves have made of their good name and credit record. In the meantime, victims may lose job opportunities, be refused loans, education, housing or cars, or even get arrested for crimes they didn't commit. (

Regulatory Issues facing B2B and B2C sites

Decency of Internet material has always been an important issue facing B2Band B2C web sites. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, covers protection for the online service providers and the users of their services. The act states:

"No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider". This portion of the Act remains in force, and enhances free speech by making it unnecessary for ISPs and other service providers to unduly restrict customers' actions for fear of being found legally liable for customers' conduct. It is controversial because several courts have interpreted it as providing complete immunity for Internet service providers with regard to the torts committed by their users over their systems. Immunity under Section 230 requires that: (1) the defendant is a provider or user of an interactive computer service; (2) the cause of action treats the defendant as a publisher or speaker of information; and (3) the information at issue be provided by another information content provider.




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