Since the ban on using the internet for commercial use was lifted in 1991, e-commerce in numerous parts of the world has grown tremendously (Nah & Davis, 2002). E-commerce encompasses the buying and selling of goods and services via the internet. This is facilitated by the use of electronic funds transfer systems such as Visa and MasterCard among others. This essay discusses e-commerce in relation to the restrictions of geography, government versus private regulation, the need for e-commerce governance, and a discussion of potential models of governance for all e-commerce activities.
Geography of E-commerce
E-commerce is not affected by geographical boundaries. The business can be transacted throughout the world where it would be impossible for persons to trade physically. The laws that govern business transactions in a certain country may fail to be effective on e-commerce trade. This phenomenon has resulted to the occurrence of cases of Internet fraud, where traders may use false details to steal cash from others, in a falsified business agreement. Lack of geographical boundaries in e-commerce has also facilitated the transaction of illegal businesses in various nations. Such trades include laundering of money via the internet and selling or distribution of pornography.
Government Versus Private Regulation of E-commerce
The government and private regulations play a major role in limiting policing activities on e-commerce. Nevertheless, in both sectors, there lack a streamlined framework of rules and regulations governing various forms of trade via the internet (Meltzer, 2014). Lack of properly laid out e-commerce regulation procedures by governments leads to the establishment of the illegal e-commerce activities in the nations. Governments should also come with regulations on how to collaboratively deal with the issues that surround e-commerce (Shinohara, 2001). Consequently, the private sector must ensure that they remain ethical in all their business operations via the internet. For instance, an online alcohol store should have its own regulations that bar minors from purchasing alcohol.
The Need for E-commerce Governance and Potential Models for Governance
The e-commerce business environment should have various regulations enacted so as to monitor the trade. This would ensure that all functions of e-commerce are performed efficiently, with the parties involved being affected by the various affecting their e-commerce trade. One of the bodies that should play an integral part in international e-commerce governance is the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL, 2016). Such a body should enact laws that govern international online trade operations. Other institutions that should play a part in governing e-commerce may include the United Nations, the International Telecom Union (ITU), WCIT, and the US Department of Homeland Security among others.
In conclusion, there is a need to create regulations for governing e-commerce. They would ensure that all online trading activities run smoothly without them being affected by issues affecting e-commerce. Currently, e-commerce is not widely affected by geographical location. This means that online traders can carry out their trading activities without being prosecuted for any unlawful activities. International bodies should be involved in enacting laws for regulating e-commerce activities. Such bodies could include United Nations Commission on International Trade Law among others.
Meltzer, J. (2014, February ). Global Economy and Development. Supporting the Internet As a Platform for International Trade: Opportunities for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Developing Countries, Pp 1-43. Retrieved May 26, 2016, from http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/research/files/papers/2014/02/internet-international-trade-meltzer/02-international-trade-version-2_revised.pdf
Nah, F. F. H., & Davis, S. (2002). HCI research issues in e-commerce. Journal of Electronic Commerce Research, 3(3), 98-113.
Shinohara, T. (2001). Cyber Rules: The rules governing e-commerce and the challenges facing Japan. NRI Research Paper, (22).
UNCITRAL. (2016). The Commission. Retrieved May 26, 2016, from UNCITRAL: https://www.uncitral.org/
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