Ethical responsibility is the duty of following a morally upright part. Our discussion will be based on mobile commerce and all the ethical issues that surround its environment. Mobile commerce is the conduction of business transactions using wireless devices like laptops and cellular phones. M-commerce enables users to connect to the internet to acquire goods and services without necessarily plugging in to do so. M-commerce is an emerging technology that is based on the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) and has been able to make great strides in Europe. This has been achieved because mobile devices in Europe have been equipped with micro-browsers that are Web-ready unlike in the United States. The latest trend for conducting business is m-commerce (Hsieh, 2007). Commerce is affected by how we communicate and the marketing by social media. This paper will be focusing on M-commerce and ethical responsibility in business.
The spread of mobile commerce has been affecting stakeholders from different groups. The most obvious stakeholders are the customers who benefit from the enhanced business presence in the social networks. Although mobile commerce has been opening up new opportunities, it has also brought up the issue of security. How safe is the technology to be trusted with important business transactions? Another set of stakeholders are the networks that are controlling and carrying data of the transactions. Legislation, as well as policies, have been drafted by the government to ensure that the privacy of their citizens is respected and that the networks are maintaining sufficient security measures. The government has also developed data frameworks across which this data is spread as the society faces the "renaissance of crowd sourced public service" (Laux, 2011). Manufacturers for smartphones will stand to benefit from fuelling mobile commerce. Social networks will also be influencing mobile commerce as they will be developing new ways of interaction for businesses with customers as they will be a customer service tool and marketplace for companies (Jerger, 2011).
Mobile commerce is a revolutionary tool in business and will change the business environment in a number of ways. Some factors will, however, determine whether it will diffuse well with the users or not. Factors such as politics, social and personal perspective of the technology are bound to affect its use. The social network will be used as a platform for this technology to be used. The countries where this technology will be used will have to be concerned about the safety of the citizens using it. Many governments have already come up with legislations to control the usage of this technology. As the use of mobile technology increases so do the regulatory and legal risks as well as increase in online security. The mobile law has therefore been created to look at the key issues in the usage of mobile devices which include payments made online, data protection, infringement of intellectual property rights, privacy, contractual risks, and privacy.
The society is the key to the success of any innovation. The modern society is one that relies on technology to do most of their tasks whether big or small. Businesses are also relying on technology to conduct most of their transactions from banking to safe keeping of business records. This technology has and will be accepted by the modern day society considering that it will ease the process of doing business. Customers will not have to walk around in malls and stores looking for certain products. All they have to do is connect to a reliable internet source and search for the item, where it can be found and how much it costs. Businesses will be able to reduce crowding in their stores by uploading the necessary information of their goods and services and the prices. M-commerce will have made shopping convenient.
On a personal level, people tend to use items that make their lives easy. The technology will be a positive thing on people's lives. A Recent survey on the use of the m-commerce showed that it was accepted positively due to a number of reasons. Usefulness, easy to use, cost, trust, and privacy were the key reasons for people to use it (Nassuora, 2013). Users will no longer have to queue in long lines waiting to be served or buy a product. They only have to buy it online and wait for delivery on their doorsteps or wherever they are.
Ethical responsibility in the usage of mobile commerce comes up after considering these factors. Transactions that occur through the mobile commerce applications are carried out by human beings and they should be responsible for their actions. Government legislations have not been enough in curbing the menace of online bullying through social media platforms. While it is the responsibility to ensure that this does not happen, users of such platforms also have the responsibility to prevent it by using it properly and avoid exposing their personal lifestyle to the media. Users should follow the basic guidelines for setting up passwords though this is not enough to prevent accounts from being hacked by professional hackers. Governments should increase their investment in online security to protect its citizens as well as have tough rules for those found violating these rules.
Mobile commerce is bound to change buying patterns among customers. As mobile phones keep taking replacing some of the things that we used to do like going to the ATM to withdraw cash and looking for taxis so are the patterns of purchasing goods and services. The number of people visiting stores to buy goods will reduce. Most people will opt to buy goods and services from their mobile devices instead of visiting many stores looking for one thing. The technology will have promoted a lazy lifestyle among people especially with the delivery services being offered by businesses today. Sales are bound to increase in businesses as customers do not have to visit the store. They will, therefore, order anything they want, even goods that they do not necessarily need. Banking has been made easier; all transactions can be done over the internet. Mobile commerce has an important role in the retail market. The applications created by retailers have created a close relationship between retailers, brand merchandise, and consumers.
The lack of regulations “makes Internet Companies to rethink about their approaches to the privacy of the consumer, deciding whether to disclose their policies or keep them a secret and also determine what sort of protection should be put in place" (Caldwell, 2006). In conducting business using mobile commerce a few ethical issues arise. The legal relationship between a customer and a supplier should be controlled but who controls it when a contact is made using a mobile device? Can the parties in the contract be identified? Are the parties in a capacity to contact each other? How will the contract be evidenced? When will the formation of the contract happen? How will a copy of the terms and conditions of the contract be downloaded? It is the responsibility of the developers of an application that will enable these transactions to ensure that the above ethical issues are taken care of. Most of the applications have tackled most of the issues though the issue of age is still a problem. Persons under the age of 18years can pretend to be old enough to transact in contracts.
Payment for services over the internet has been an ethical issue for long. For purchases that are made what method of payment is accepted? How will payments be processed, through internet credit card or another method that has specifically been devised for m-commerce? Applications are now using standard modes of payment like PayPal and Visa but not all online users have access to this, therefore, making payments a hard task. Infringement of intellectual property right is often violated by mobile users. Mobile devices can be used to take photographs and shared through the internet using data sharing files. Somebody may breach copyright by taking another’s photograph without authorization. The person responsible for infringement is unknown. Will it be the person who took the photograph or network operators who facilitate the exchange? Can the infringers be identified since Data protection laws apply in most countries?
There is a need for all stakeholders in mobile commerce to take their ethical responsibilities. This will ensure that crimes committed on this platform are reduced to a minimum. Governments should also try to come up with common laws for the usage of the internet. This will help in ensuring that those who commit offenses on the internet are fairly prosecuted by fair laws. Developers of the applications used for contracting goods and services should try to come up with ways of knowing who is liable to contact. They should also try to find a way of making contracts made online be as reliable as those made in offices and businesses.