E-Business Goes Mobile: A Fiduciary Framework for Regulating Mobile Location Based Services

E-Business Goes Mobile: A Fiduciary Framework for Regulating Mobile Location Based Services

Abe Zakhem (Seton Hall University, USA)
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-615-5.ch006
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Where others have remarked on the possible fiduciary regulation of e-commerce in general, this chapter makes a more specific and demanding normative claim; notably, that we in fact ought to regulate Mobile Location Based Services (MLBS) along fiduciary lines. Part I describes the limited-access nature of fiduciary relationships and the conditions of peculiar vulnerability and dependence that attract fiduciary obligations. Part II explains the dynamics of user-provider relationships in MLBS environments and argues that the conditions present therein generate fiduciary obligations. Part III describes and addresses a likely criticism; in particular, that the imposition of fiduciary obligations on MLBS providers is morally incompatible with the special fiduciary status rightly and already afforded to equity holders. In response, I argue that those who argue along these lines tend to confuse a manager’s nominate function with their strict fiduciary duty to refrain from the opportunistic exploitation of those they serve.
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Peculiar Vulnerability And Dependence

Given our limitations (e.g., limited time, resources, knowledge or cognitive capacities), we often must rely on others to act on our behalf. Decisions regarding proper medical treatment, legal questions, and retirement investments, for example, are typically best handled by soliciting and following the respective opinions of doctors, lawyers, and mutual fund managers. Yet, benefiting by these sorts of dependencies also requires that we entrust others with limited-access to sensitive information (e.g., our medical history, details of potentially incriminating events, and financial assets and liabilities) and grant limited control over something that we value (e.g., our health, legal status, and capital) for a limited purpose (e.g., medical care, legal defense, or retirement investing). While we certainly hope that those who are granted this limited-access and control will in fact act in our best interests, the fear of opportunistic exploitation looms. We find that just as doctors, lawyers, and money managers are certainly in privileged positions to offer helpful or even quite necessary services, they are likewise in positions where they can take advantage of beneficiary trust.

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