Introduction and thesis statement
The digitization of information and communication technologies (ICT), the global extension of ICT-supported networks, services and applications, fixed and mobile phones, the World Wide Web (WWW) and the internet have opened the diverse ways for a wide range of ICT related growth and initiatives (Lagraña 5). The internet has altered the way people and organizations communicate and interrelate.
The impact is felt in both private sphere and the workplace. In view of the different ways technologies are used by players, there are several perspectives that arise including legal and privacy concerns. The number of complaints by telephone and e-mail owners has increased significantly regarding unsolicited calls (Cold Calling) and e-mails (Spam).
In essence, unsolicited calls refer to calls that are considered a nuisance by the recipient. The same applies to spam as the recipient considered such e-mails as a bother. Typically, the unsolicited calls and spam originate from strangers with commercial motives. The two are also a common source of fraud and deception targeted at financial gain in addition to being a source of nuisance.
Consumers consider spamming and cold calling a nuisance but spamming is more acceptable than cold calling.
The era of cold calling is over as spamming is gaining acceptance
Spamming and cold calling are phenomena that affect communication in all parts of the world. The developed and emerging economies are the main victims of these activities as business competition intensify with the objective of gaining a large market share and stay ahead of competition. Gaining market share is achieved by ensuring that the business has a large audience and a wide customer base.
Realization by policymakers and stakeholders regarding the nuisance caused by the unsolicited e-mails and calls has made the authorities to respond to these concerns. The US, UK as well as other countries in Europe are among the major stakeholders who are strongly opposed to cold calling and indicate leniency on the part of spamming (Nettleton and Pham 173).
The European community drafted the European Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications act which major stakeholders adopted. The regulations sought to be ‘technology neutral’ and envelop a wide range of marketing activities. The activities include direct marketing through telephone, electronic communication and fax; automated calling systems, subscriber directories and internet cookies (Nettleton and Pham 173).
The failure by companies to adhere to the European directives has dire consequences. Individuals and businesses who are victims of cold calling have legal ways through which they can raise their complaints. For instance, businesses and individuals within UK with the request not to be called despite having registered on the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) have the legal avenue to make complaints directly to the Information Commissioner in the UK. In the US, such individuals and companies may file a suit in a court of law.
Contemporary, cold calling continues to suffer restrictions in many jurisdictions despite the lack of proper structures for the application of international law on communication. Spamming has not received major setbacks as marketing and buying online gains in popularity. Individuals prefer to purchase online as the economy status calls for individuals in tight schedules to make online purchases.
Researches indicate that cold calling is by far the lowest percentage on sales call. Further, researches indicate that people respond more when they are sent a value-based unsolicited e-mail. Often, the recipient will want to connect with the sender (Gitomer 10). The recipient will have sufficient time to read the spam from the copy in the email.
Privacy problems arising from spamming have a solution
With regard to privacy issues emerging from spamming and e-commerce, there is indication that free choice and control are essential components of privacy (Edwards 313). The collection of personal information in absence of transparency and consent such as setting of cookies obliterates privacy and values such as respect and integrity in social spheres. Fortunately, the same technology contemporarily enables individuals to set the spam they wish to receive and the amount of data that can be collected by the sender.
The European data-protection law and the US self-regulatory approach to privacy offer consumers the requisite guarantee that their privacy and personal data will be protected. Companies have endeavored to create a trusting relationship with consumers. Spamming seems to be more preferable to cold calling by authorities in the US and Europe as it is not banned in its entirety.
However, there are legal conditions attached to it that significantly affect the sender if the codes are breached. The European system utilizes the hard and soft data protection laws. Essentially, these requires that consumer data be given consent to collect personal information by the consumer.
Additionally, the processors of personal information are required to give public notification regarding the purposes for which the information is being gathered. The law requires that the information should not be disseminated or used for any other reason beyond what is stated.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and states that do not have spam-controlling laws have used the Controlling Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (CAN-SPAM) passed in 2004 by the US government. People sending spam were charged with sending fraudulent e-mails under the federal statute, fined and ordered to stop sending spam (Munukutla 640).
Currently, research indicates that not all spam is related to criminal activities. The research conducted by Pew Internet & American Life Project (PI-ALP) indicates that 36 % of internet users in the US have sought health support upon receiving and accepting spam. The spammers have been of help to the patients and families.
Current digital transformation supports the use of spamming as a sales tool
In the workplace, more than 96 percent of organizations offer employees the access to e-mail. In government circles, operations are seeking to support development strategies and activities that support digital transformation. The move is aimed at boosting socio-economic growth (Salman 5). As most governments pursue the digital transformation and most of the services be available online, individuals are encouraged to familiarize with the internet irrespective of the location.
As the idea of digitizing advances, authorities are aware of the consequences that come along with electronic communication systems. Laws are drafted to ensure that spamming does not have negative influence on the developments gained. The communications acts entrenched in many countries are seeking to support the development of digitized communication.
In Malaysia, for in instance, cases involving abuses of social media through spamming has been in the rise. The government implemented a bill that prohibited non-commercial spamming allowing only commercial spamming under the conditions that the spammers include the full identities in the email being sent. The strategy proved effective as recipients have the freedom to block spam (Roman 135).
Following the legislation that are currently being implemented in many countries regarding spamming and cold calling, individuals have shown positive response to technological transformations. Individuals are signing into websites in response to spam with their real names and e-mail addresses. On the contrary, few are responding to cold calls as they are considered a nuisance and irritating.
E-mail is becoming unusable
Typically, unsolicited e-mails and cold calls market an assortment of questionable products varying from pharmaceuticals to neglected bank accounts (Bellovin 144). The intention is always financial and the recipient never receives any benefits from either of the fraudulent approaches. The people involved attempt and at times succeed in stealing user names and secret codes for internet banking.
Authentication of the sender is one approach that is effective for curbing spamming and cold calling. When one is not aware of the sender or caller, one can chase the originator through a judicial avenue (Nettleton and Pham 175). For instance, in December 2012, a twenty-year-old woman was followed and eventually killed after responding to a spam. She had assumed that the unsolicited e-mail was genuine.
Privacy advocates worldwide indicate that in the near future, spam will be a primary source of loss of personal information. The results will be loss of privacy and even money as was the case where Jackson became a victim of theft identity after responding to a spam. The theft resulted in huge financial losses in addition to the ruining of his reputation.
Rebuttal to counter arguments
Following senders and callers does not always work irrespective of the simple legal structures that one can follow. Inherently, majority of people accept e-mail and calls from almost any source. When a message is directly addressed to the user, the recipient is likely to accept it, even when the e-mail or phone call is from a total stranger (Bellovin 144).
The perception makes it unreasonable to have the authentication of the sender or caller if the recipient is going to accept it anyway. Essentially, identification is simply a concept that is rational within a shared context. Outside the shared context, the senders or callers authenticated identification means very little as opposed to simply asserted identification.
Spam and unsolicited calls to a large extent bother consumers. Different governments have legislated laws that seek to protect the consumers from such practices particularly in the developed countries including the US, UK and Europe (Nettleton 237). However, implementing the laws is challenging and taking action is not clear-cut.
One challenge faced by the policymakers is the precise definition of terms such as nuisance calls, cold calls, and spam among others. Inherently, some of the calls and e-mails that annoy consumers are in fact legal (Edwards 315). Regardless of the existence of rules determining the kind of calls that are lawful, the enforcement is faced by multiplicity of challenges.
The US Supreme Court observed that handouts and other unidentified written materials have played a central function for centuries in the advancement of humankind. Oppressed groupings and factions often use unauthenticated identities to condemn tyrannical laws and practices that threaten the livelihoods anonymously (Bellovin 145).
When the concept is applied in sales and marketing, individuals and businesses are able to reach a large consumer base whose information does not inherently exist in the database. Companies have been able to increase the customer base using spam and cold calling leading to more profitability.
Benefits and risks of a current information technology
Technology gives institutions and governments the chance to deliver additional services faster. Modern technology presents the opportunity to reduce costs and add value to services offered to consumers. The IT risks are both internal and external for institutions and governments. These include convolution of technology, institutional barriers, changing economic climate and the impact on the consumers. Auditing technologies for effectiveness and efficiency is a challenge that is yet to be resolved.
Moral problems related to information technology
The regulation of the internet by governments is usually pervasive. Almost all countries with internet access have specific legislations, rules and regulations that ensure considerable control by the authorities. Ostensibly, the move targets the protection of the safety of the internet environment and the enhancement of social and economic stability.
However, the degree of censorship varies with jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions apply obvious controls such as Cuba, Iran, Singapore, and Saudi Arabia among others. In other jurisdictions, China espouse a blend of relatively restrained approaches with more explicit censorship.
In the US where the First Amendment acts defends speech from interference by the government, service providers impose terms and conditions of the use of the internet and other forms of communication limiting what can be posted online and the proper use of other communication infrastructure including telephones. The freedom of speech is infringed upon by censorship.
In other situations, major moral issues emerge. Privacy and confidentiality is often compromised when cookies collect consumers’ data. Inherently, all internet communications are susceptible to eavesdropping. Browsers document actions in history files. Majority of the internet e-commerce organizations utilize the cookies deposited by web sites to trace consumer-purchasing patterns.
Unsolicited e-mails collect significant amount of information once responded to by the recipient. Fraudsters use the information to conduct online transactions without the knowledge of the consumer. Others reveal the identities of consumers while others sell the data collected to third parties (Peslak 79).
Additionally, responding to spam may lead to the recipient’s computer being hacked. For hackers to access bank accounts and withdraw cash, they can use information collected by spam. The information can also be used to control systems causing destructions.
In the last decade, electronic mail and mobile telephony has become the trendiest communication tool that has significantly outpaced face-to-face and fixed telephony communication in socializing and business. In recent years, cold calling and spamming have waged cutthroat competition for marketing against each other. Consequently, consumers are faced with loads of information that is either useful or a nuisance to them.
However, spamming is gaining in popularity and preference among marketers because it is more acceptable by consumers in comparison to cold calling. Laws in many countries hinder cold calling as authorities seek to digitize communication.
Tight work and personal schedules has led to the individuals accepting spam to get information about products and services. The development in technology field presents authorities and consumers with solutions to spamming and cold calling such as authentication.
There are laws that seek to regulate cold calling and spamming to protect the consumers’ information and privacy. The communication digital transformation being experienced contemporary supports the use of spam as a sales tool as consumers are guaranteed of privacy and confidentiality through the authentication of the spammers.
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