13.4 E-Commerce Ethics

The concept of sharing is everywhere on the Internet. In this thought-provoking Huffington Post blog post, Bianca Bosker asks whether Facebook and other companies are using the term to manipulate our feelings and extract information from us.

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If you’re tired of ads now, just wait ’til your smart phone gets a little smarter. It may soon deliver sales pitches to you based on your location, the weather, nearby friends, the contents of your last Facebook post, or just about anything else it can link to you. As your privacy slips away, your cash becomes an easy target for savvy tech companies.

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The Web is Watching You

June 9, 2012
Photo from TEDTalk about tracking the trackers

If you think you’re covering your tracks as you explore the web, think again. This TED talk shows how we’re being tracked and suggests what we might need to do about it.

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3D Body Scans for Better Fitting Jeans?

June 7, 2012
These computer designs let stores create or tweak new styles without actually stitching prototype garments.

We’ve grown accustomed to the idea of computer body scans in hospitals and airports. But are you ready to be scanned in the dressing room of a clothing store? Or in your home for an online retail purchase? If scan-for-size technology catches on, digital devices may be taking your body measurements to ensure that the clothes you buy fit perfectly. This NPR story has the details.

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The Dark Story Gets Darker

March 19, 2012
Retracted Apple manufacturing story

Mike Daisey’s monologue on This American Life a few weeks ago fueled the firestorm of criticism of Apple for treatment of workers that make all those iProducts. There’s truth in many of the criticisms, but there are enough untruths in the monologue to cause the producers of this popular public radio program to devote an entire episode to exposing the real, fully factual story.

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Psychological Secrets of E-Commerce

September 9, 2011

It’s generally wise to understand the tools and tricks that people and institutions use to manipulate our behavior. This Wired article is packed with insights into how everybody from Amazon to Zynga gets you to spend more time and money at their sites. wired.com/magazine/2011/06/ff_gamed/all/1

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Show Us the Data. (It’s Ours, After All.)

May 24, 2011

Who owns your data? If somebody else collects information about you, should you have the legal right to see and use that information? New York Times Columnist Richard Thaler argues that consumers and businesses alike would benefit from laws ensuring that you have access to your information. Read on New York Times site

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