Mechanism for establishing policies for electronic commerce

N. H. Minsky, V. Ungureanu

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

29 Scopus citations


This paper introduces a mechanism for establishing policies for electronic commerce in a unified and secure manner. A commercial policy can be viewed as the embodiment of a contract between the principals involved in a certain type of commercial activity, and it may be concerned with such issues as: ensuring that a payment for services is refunded under specified circumstances; preventing certificates representing e-cash from being duplicated; ensuring that credit card numbers are used only for the transaction they are intended for; and, for certain socially sensitive transactions like the purchase of drugs, ensuring auditability by proper authorities. Our mechanism is based on a previously published concept of law-governed interaction. It makes a strict separation between the formal statement of a policy, which we call a 'law,' and the enforcement of this law, which is carried our by a set of policy-independent trusted controllers. A new policy under this scheme is created basically by formulating its law, and can be easily deployed throughout a distributed system. This mechanism enables a single agent to engage in several different activities, subject to disparate policies. Two examples policies are discussed here in detail: one ensures refundability of payment, under certain circumstances; the other provides for payment by means of non-copyable tickets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 1998
EventProceedings of the 1998 18th International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems - Amsterdam, Neth
Duration: May 26 1998May 29 1998


OtherProceedings of the 1998 18th International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems
CityAmsterdam, Neth

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications

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