How Do You Deal With Internet Fraud - One also has...
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One also has to be careful that law is not used instead of industry action. Making something an offense does not mean that nothing need be done. The recent US Digital Millennium Act is perceived by some as preventing the exposing of inadequate security mechanisms. Given that the user is actually the one exposed by security inadequacies, careful consideration needs to be given over user reaction to such a situation.
Internet fraud has two distinct strands to it.
One results from the differences between doing business in the physical world and the dematerialized world of the Internet. This gap has been accentuated by the 'world of the Internet' to the point where the user has no conventional reference points. This leaves the user ill placed to make adequate judgments of any kind, not merely about security and the possibility of fraud.
The other results from technical inadequacies in the infrastructure used by the service providers. Lack of clear regulation has allowed registration practices to develop that are not acceptable anywhere else for doing business. Previously available security mechanisms have been implemented in ways that fail to protect the user and which require, if followed, unreasonable user effort and significant user education.
Mechanisms such as the law may be able to provide some assistance, but care needs to be taken that the law is not used as an excuse for inadequate business practices. It would be sensible to ensure that a duty of care to implement best practice is included in legislation to expose any who have failed to protect themselves, their shareholders or their customers. Self regulation is another essential approach, but it must avoid becoming all self and no regulation if it is to carry real conviction to a suspicious user community, and its practices must be clear, obvious and understandable to the ordinary man. The paper world has already done this so wheel re-inventing is not required.
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