Recently, some news broke that the Obama Administration had gotten “metadata” from major phone companies like Verizon and AT&T, detailing phone records for many millions of Americans. While the records did not show names, they did show what calls were made for a particular number, as well as the time of call. And as a simple Google search of your phone number can show you, it is easier than you think to connect even your unlisted cell phone with your name.
But that governmental search for information was just the beginning. It was also recently revealed that the feds asked for information on email, web searches, videos, online chats, photos and the like. Yahoo!, Google, Facebook, AOL, and Apple reportedly shared at least some information with the government, according to the New York Times, although it is not yet known what the extent of the information revealed is. However, there are some denials from the companies named about wholesale sharing.
What does all of this mean for internet privacy and intellectual property?
At any rate, the controversy is still raging at press time, and it is enough to make you wonder about how much internet privacy you have, and how much of your intellectual property is being snooped at by the federal government. Is Big Brother really watching your every move? We do not really know the full extent of it at press time, and it is unclear just what is being looked at, and how big all of this is.
However, there are some things to keep in mind when it comes to protecting yourself on the internet:
You never know who is watching: We say this over and over again when it comes to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and the like. No matter how good your privacy settings are, and whether only a select few can read your posts, there is always the chance that your posts and comments can be used against you, or you can get in trouble in some way. When in doubt, don’t. Even if you delete your post after writing it, it could potentially still live on in cyberspace forever, if somebody has already copied it.
Aside from the potential of the federal government looking at what you write, the more immediate issue is this – all it takes is one person who has an issue with what you have written to potentially put you in a world of hurt. So keep this in mind – think before you write. Always. Even your emails to an individual person could end up in the wrong hands if you have a fight.
You could see your ideas go uncredited: This also means that great ideas you come up with can end up getting popularized without you getting the credit. This is why it is a good idea to put your name and copyright information on any information you want credit for, such as blog posts or photos. For photos or memes, this is especially important. You can do this with a watermark or a URL or email address on the photo or meme.
An intellectual property attorney in New York can help
There are a variety of other issues here, and this article can only scratch the service, to learn more about what an intellectual property attorney in New York can do, click here.
- License: Image author owned
Lisa Swan writes for a variety of technology sites. She lives in New York City.