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Trumbull News Detail

Dr. Dan Palmer collaborates on e-Commerce ethics publication

Posted May. 10, 2010
Be honest, you're one of those shoppers who rarely, if ever, stop to read the fine print at the end of an online purchase, right? For most individuals who choose to buy certain necessities, frivolities, or accessories online, it's easy to skim over or completely avoid reading the terms and conditions. Pressed for time, or simply careless, many seemingly naïve online shoppers choose instead, to hurry through their transaction, receive a confirmation number, and excitedly await the arrival of their new items (in 5-7 business days of course). What a shock it must have been then for 7500 customers to learn that they had inadvertently sold their souls to British firm GameStation upon the completion of their online purchase. Yes, that's right, they sold their immortal souls.

Clearly stated in the disclosure GameStation announced that "By placing an order via this Web site on the first day of the fourth month of the year 2010 Anno Domini, you agree to grant Us a non transferable option to claim, for now and for ever more, your immortal soul." Additionally, the provision was added that if the purchaser so chose they could simple click a tick box option that would "nullify this sub-clause" and receive a "£5 voucher". Ethically obligated to rescind sole rights to the souls, GameStation "noted that it would not be enforcing the ownership rights, and planned to e-mail customers nullifying any claim on their soul."
While one can argue the true legitimacy and legality of such a transaction, the astonishing fact remains that an estimated 88% of consumers who shopped at GameStation after April 1, 2010 failed to read, or perhaps simply comprehend the April Fool's Day gag "Soul Clause" added to the standard terms and conditions; Consequently, providing a much deserved wakeup call for online shoppers everywhere.

Addressing the increased availability of online products and services, while alternately raising concerns in regard to online security, ethics, moral issues, and privacy, Daniel E. Palmer, Ph.D., Kent State University at Trumbull recently collaborated with information science and technology publisher, IGI Global to release, Ethical Issues in E-Business: Models and Frameworks. Dr. Palmer finds that "Essentially, the ethics of e-business seeks to assure that those involved in implementing and utilizing forms of e-business do so in ways that are morally justifiable." This book "is designed with the aim of helping achieve this goal by offering a wide range of essays dealing with the multi-faceted nature of the ethics of e-business."

Chapters selected for inclusion convey the ethical responsibilities of business that operate in the online community. A quintessential publication, this book offers audiences a diverse and global perspective concerning the ethical consequences of e-business transactions, e-commerce applications, and technological advancements in secure online use.

Communicating the ethical implications and challenges faced through online business dealings, this reference work raises issues and presents studies valuable to not only the business ethicist, but also provides far reaching solutions and examples beneficial to researchers, practitioners and academics defining online boundaries, internet privacy issues, and virtual anonymity.

For more information on this publication, please visit: