Mobile Code = "any code that executes on the client... in this case the machine the webbrowser is running on." (S. Mukherjee, 2000) Examples of mobile code include Java, Java Script, Active-x, Flash, Shockwave and similar computer programs.
This case study will use a specific regional example. Since the real estate industry is one of the most affected sectors of the United States economy, a Philadelphia area real estate company has been selected as the topic for the case study. (Besides the technology industry, the other leading indicator industries include auto, travel, financial services and real estate.)
Unfortunately, much of the debate has not taken into account the real world. In many of the chat rooms, newsgroups and traditional trade journals they attempt to tackle the issues we are about to explore. However, the discussions on "choice" seldom take into account the need for real "action." Our case studies in this arena usually come about in the reverse order -- first, we are forced to take action by a commercial entity. Then, we must make choices based on our moral code. More often than not, there is no government organization to turn to for answers. There is no legal or taxation roadmap. Over the years, we have contacted many branches of federal and local government, including: the IRS (United States Internal Revenue Service), PA Dept. Of Treasury, U.S. Dept. Of State, U.S Dept. Of Justice, FTC (Federal Trade Commission), FEC (Federal Election Commission), SEC (Securities & Exchange Commission), PA Dept. Of Labor, and the Pennsylvania Department Of State Real Estate Commission.
Since that time, the website has gone on to become one of the most visited real estate sites in the world. The results from one recent analysis showed our experiment garnered more traffic than Microsoft's Home Advisor and Realtor.com... combined. Because of the complexity of the topic and the size of the financial transactions (over $1,000,000,000.00 USD), we were forced to take action and help develop an objective standard for real estate websites. After all, how could we knowingly link to a real estate website that we thought may violate a consumer's privacy and/or security?
The two most significant policies to be adopted by Philanet.com are:
Unless these two concerns have been addressed, the Philanet.com real estate website directory will not link.
Since the Membrane Domain advised us that such practices may be in opposition to the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission's mission statement, we declined to do business with those companies. To this day, and until such time as a court rules otherwise, we will try to protect consumers from undue danger.