Information Security


This paper examines how e-commerce companies address privacy in their policies. All e-Commerce companies’ websites are subject to privacy laws that protect the companies’ clients from the manipulation of personal information. Ecommerce companies, therefore, have included the terms and conditions option on their websites in order to improve privacy policy. Ecommerce companies deal with privacy policies by defining the types of data that the organization’s websites collect, how the data is collected, and the methods used to store the client’s information.

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A major practice in the e-commerce business sector is the collection and storage of consumer information. E-commerce businesses collect a variety of consumer information and in huge amounts as a basis for making business decisions. Even though consumer information is very important and useful to the business, its collection, storage, and processing come with the risk of breaches in privacy due to unauthorized access and consequently liability risks making the protection of consumer information a very critical business process. To eliminate or reduce the risk of an information security breach in the face of increasing competition and need to achieve business efficiency many businesses are increasingly spending huge amounts of resources both financially and talent in an attempt to ensure that consumer information is secure.

In addition to the complexities surrounding the protection of consumer information in the fast-paced technologically advancing world, e-commerce businesses also have to deal with varying laws and regulations regarding information privacy across different countries. (Spencer, 2016). Therefore, e-commerce companies are not only obligated to ensure consumer information ranging from personal details and any information regarding a consumer’s transaction history are protected but also to also ensure that consumers are enlightened through the company’s terms of service in regard to the privacy of the information that is collected by the business (Allen, Rotenberg, & Lampe, 2011).

With the foregoing in mind, the focus of this paper is to explore ways in which e-commerce companies manage or address the issues of consumer privacy with a focus on leading e-commerce enterprises such as Amazon, Walmart an eBay.

Research Question: How e-commerce companies address privacy in its policies?

As mentioned earlier, information privacy and security poses serious risks to e-commerce businesses. This has been further compounded by fast-paced technological advancements and varying regulations regarding the protection of consumer information. Given the risks associated with the exposure of private consumer information, businesses have adopted various strategies and policies -legal documents that guide the collection, storage and processing of consumer information while providing information to both customers and businesses regarding their responsibilities and rights associated with information security. However, despite the risks associated with information privacy breach, which make it a very crucial business consideration, research gaps exist regarding the processes, ways and policies used by e-commerce companies in protecting consumer information. To explore the ways used by e-commerce enterprises to protect consumer information and consequently provide an answer to the research question. 

Literature Review:

E-commerce businesses collect a lot of information from their consumers ranging from personal information, transaction history and even credit card information. Because of the identifiable nature of the consumer information collected, these companies are required to ensure that the information is completely secure from any unauthorized access. In addition to earning, the trust of consumers based on confidence about the company’s information security mechanisms organizations are motivated to establish privacy protection policies and procedure in order to comply with legal requirements regarding privacy protection and avoid liabilities associated with adverse exposure of consumer information.

Different countries and even states have enacted regulations regarding privacy protection. For instance, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) and the Common-law Privacy Tort define what information to protect as well as criminal penalties for any unauthorized used and exposure of consumer information. In another example, the Online Privacy Protection Act of 2003 requires that the operators of stores or websites display privacy policies on their sites (Cooley Godward, 2004). The act requires that e-commerce organizations avail in their websites information regarding consumer privacy. According to the act, companies must avail information on the type of information collected, data storage, sharing or disclosure as well as the period of the policy.

Privacy policies are developed to guide the company on the management and protection of consumer information. These policies define the type and value of information collected by the organization and the need for privacy (Robert, 2014). Further, the policies establish responsibilities with regard to all customer data collected and the establishment of access controls restricting the access to certain consumer information to only those authorized to access such information. Moreover, privacy policies assist e-commerce companies in complying with legal regulations and requirements in addition to informing both the employees of the organization as well as the customers about their expectations regarding privacy of information (Robert, 2014). For instance, the policy should define all information that should be kept private by the organization’s employees and include possible consequences for any actions due to an employee that may result in the leakage or unauthorized exposure of customer information (Spencer, 2016).

On the side of employees, informing employees on some essential concepts in their engagement may be one of the fundamental privacy enhancement moves. In conducting the study, focus was given to the examination of the practices and policies adopted by Amazon in ensuring that consumer information is protected and established several strategies, which includes a readily available and accessible privacy policy.

Research Method:

In conducting the study, an extensive literature review was conducted as a basis for obtaining secondary data regarding the ways e-commerce companies use to address privacy issues in their businesses. In addition, several case studies were reviewed to provide practical examples regarding consumer privacy protection with specific focus on the information from both established e-commerce companies, including Amazon Companies.


With the increasing use of e-commerce, the companies interact with more customers’ data and therefore, to ensure security, privacy policies are made. Recommendations to the literature are that privacy policies for e-commerce enterprises are subject to change, and therefore, as technology keeps on changing and advancing, the companies should create policies that respond to the emerging privacy needs. Finally, the fact that e-commerce companies operate in different jurisdictions it becomes complicated for the companies to address the privacy issues in the policy (Allen, Rotenberg, & Lampe, 2011).


Allen, A. L., Rotenberg, M., & Lampe, R. (2011). Privacy law and society (p. 3). Thomson/West. Cooley Godward, L. L. P. (2004).

California Online Privacy Protection Act of 2003. Accessed October 1, 2012.

Spencer, S. B. (2016). Predictive analytics, consumer privacy, and ecommerce regulation.

In Research Handbook on Electronic Commerce Law. Edward Elgar Publishing AWS Privacy. (2018, December 10). Retrieved from

Robert F. Smallwood. (2014) Information governance: Concepts, strategies and best practices.

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