Trust is an important element of e-commerce.
Businesses and consumers that trade over the Internet do not have the benefit of seeing each other face to face. Nor do they have a history of personal interaction to base their trust on. The Internet is an open network that is easily subject to misuse such as an outsider getting personal information such as credit card data and medical records without authority. To build trust, e-commerce providers must be able to ensure customer privacy and maintain security of websites and email communications. Enterprises taking inadequate privacy and security measures face the risk of litigation, negative publicity, and loss of customer loyalty. Consequently, most reputable e-traders employ security measures and publish an online privacy statement that guarantees commitment to a range of privacy issues.
The best way to get a broad understanding of online privacy issues that relate to corporations and businesses is to actually go online and to look at some commercial privacy policies. The following activity asks you to look at the privacy statements of three websites that receive a lot of traffic in Hong Kong. As you browse their privacy statements, try to assess the key issues that each statement addresses.