Legal Issues in Web Contracting

E. Kafeza (Greece), F.W.-H. Chan (PRC), and I. Kafeza (Greece)

Keywords

Web contracting, Intelligent agents, Legal issues 518809

Abstract

The unprecedented advancement of the internet is complementing and even replacing the traditional commerce transactions. While face-to-face merchant agreements and paper-based contracts have always been the mechanism for facilitating business transactions nowadays web contracting is introducing a business environment where web contracts are in digital form, are created in a global electronic market via intelligent agents that interact with unknown and unseen parties. Intelligent agents instructed by humans, surf the web, discover other agents and/or humans, and take decisions forming agreements in an autonomous way. Courts and legislators have applied various legal frameworks to regulate intelligent agent web contracting but the resulting framework is rather a patchwork of legal doctrines and does not provide a comprehensive approach for regulating web contracts. In our work we identify and discuss regulatory and technological issues that must be weighted when parties are entering into web contracts. We identify that many of these issues are rooted in the authorization management in agent delegation. Therefore, we advocate solutions that consider both legal and technical aspects. Based on current legal and business practices, we propose the use of a Agent Contract Management Platform that also supports alerts and acknowledgments.

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