Published on:

Since the goal of brand management is to optimize the market’s perception of a brand, it follows that effective brand management requires establishing and maintaining a relationship with the target market. Recently, much of relationship development has been accomplished through social media. Although, brand awareness can expand with social media, but companies should be skeptical towards third-party statements regarding their brand.  In fact, legal recourse is available against third parties who engage in trade libel, defamation, and trademark or copyright infringements.

How Can Trademark Misuse Occur on Social Media?

Considering the risk that a negative criticism of a brand on social media will quickly harm the brand’s reputation, it is important for a company to be aware of the types of trademark misuse or infringement. The line between constitutionally-protected free speech and violations can be blurry. For instance, a social media username may be confused with an official brand account, either coincidentally or by imposters (i.e., posing as an employee or someone sponsored by the brand). Further, user statements may improperly dilute a trademark under the Federal Trademark Dilution Act through blurring (i.e., associating a mark with other goods/services) or tarnishment (i.e., associating a mark with substandard goods/services).

Yet, because a company risks liability under 17 U.S.C. § 512(f) for bringing false infringement claims, and more generally because monitoring all social media platforms can be expensive, it is best to become familiar with the distinctions between actionable misuse and legitimate fair use.  By doing so, a company can determine when it is appropriate to address negative publicity.

What Should a Company Facing Trademark Infringement Do?

As a first step, a company should simply take a screenshot or otherwise preserve questionable third-party trademark infringement to serve as evidence in legal proceedings. Then, the company should investigate to determine whether further action is necessary or even appropriate under the circumstances. The factors that a company should consider, include, the nature of use, significance of trademark, source of potential misuse, and length of time the use existed online.

For example, a humorous use (i.e., parody) is less likely to be considered harmful than an intentional deception. In addition, it may be wise for a company to overlook use of insignificant trademarks and focus on its more reputable brands. Further, a company should mainly be concerned with statements found on relatively important websites or made by relatively important people. Lastly, the longer the misuse has existed without detection, the less likely it will be actionable.

Moreover, because it would be impractical, if not impossible, to successfully monitor every statement made on social media about a company’s brand, an internal policy should be implemented to report suspected misuse. Additionally, a plan of legal action should be established to mitigate damages.

At our law firm, we assist in clients in legal issues related to preventing and addressing trade libel, defamation and trademark infringement. You may contact us to setup a free consultation.

Published on:

Crowdfunding involves a large number of people contributing small amounts of money to finance a business venture, typically an early-stage startup company. Over the past several years, online crowdfunding platforms have become a popular tool for new businesses and entrepreneurs to market inventions, generate revenue, and increase customer base. While improving accessibility to funding offers a significant economic advantage, crowdfunders should be careful not to release too much information before legally protecting an original idea.

What Are the Legal Risks in Crowdfunding?

The major legal risks in crowdfunding stem from crowdfunders launching campaigns before adequately identifying and protecting intellectual property (IP). This inadequate IP protection may allow ideas and inventions to be copied or stolen without legal repercussions. The risk of unprotected IP is magnified by various public disclosure requirements mandated by online crowdfunding platforms. Specifically, popular crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter require detailed disclosures of how a particular invention or product works—beyond a simple prototype—before a campaign is posted. Moreover, sophisticated predators are constantly searching crowdfunding websites for unprotected ideas.

How Can Crowdfunders Protect Intellectual Property?

In general, a crowdfunder should ensure necessary IP protection is in place before making any public disclosures in launching a campaign or submitting a business plan. The first step to ensuring adequate IP protection is identifying all potential IP involved in a project. Thereafter, proper protections should be implemented for that IP before the project is released to the general public. Specifically, crowdfunders should consider four types of IP before pitching to investors: (1) trademarks, (2) patents, (3) copyrights, and (4) trade secrets.

First, a trademark registration should be obtained to secure the rights to the unique brand identifier of the product or service. In addition, registering any domain name with an online domain registry to establish exclusive ownership. Second, a patent application should be filed for the exclusive manufacture, use, and sale of the invention as early as possible, preferably before making any public disclosures about the project. In fact, once certain triggering disclosures are made, an inventor will have only 12 months to file a patent application before losing patent rights. Third, a copyright should be obtained to prevent others from copying tangible expressions like website or application designs without permission. Lastly, a crowdfunder should be particularly careful to avoid exposing trade secrets (e.g., recipes, formulas, and customer lists) which forfeit special protected status upon disclosure.

In sum, if you are considering raising capital for a new business venture by marketing the project through a crowdfunding platform, it is essential to consider the IP that may be involved, and how to secure legal rights accordingly. So, consulting with an attorney is the best way to ensure adequate protection before launching a crowdfunding campaign. At our law firm, we assist clients in legal issues associated with the crowdfunding industry. You may contact us to set up a free consultation.

Published on:

With technological advances rendering complex cellular devices increasingly affordable, the majority of the world population is now using smartphones. Further, applications that employ global positioning system (GPS) tracking allow these worldwide smartphone users to take advantage of location-specific information and social networking. In addition, GPS technologies have aided law enforcement agencies in gathering evidence during criminal investigations. However, this convenience, and potential for enhanced public safety, brings the risk of sacrificing the privacy guaranteed to U.S. citizens by the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures.

In particular, courts have been concerned with whether a warrant should be required for the government to search cell phones to obtain location data. The statistics regarding police cell phone tracking practices—compiled in an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) report—convey the extent and significance of this issue. Of the hundreds of local law enforcement offices surveyed throughout the nation, nearly 95% reported tracking suspects via cell phone GPS data such as international calls, text messages, and emails. Although, some jurisdictions required a search warrant before engaging in this type of GPS tracking, however, some did not.  In any event, the applicable legal standards lacked consistency or clarity.

What are the Legal Concerns?

Considering the array of personal information that may be stored on a cell phone today—including details of daily activities, conversations, and locations—there is little, if any, support for warrantless searches of these devices. To the contrary, warrantless cell phones searches risk violating fundamental constitutional rights of privacy, free speech, or association. Moreover, because of the communicative nature of cell phones (especially smartphones), any fundamental right violations are likely to reach beyond the immediate victim to everyone they use the phone to contact.

The recent Eleventh Circuit decision in United States v. Davis illustrates the tension between Fourth Amendment rights and law enforcement needs for GPS tracking. In that case, Davis appealed his criminal robbery convictions claiming they were based upon GPS tracking data obtained via a warrantless search of his cell phone in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. The appellate panel agreed with Davis and held for the first time that a warrant is necessary before law enforcement can use tracking information from cell towers, yet that holding was vacated when the Eleventh Circuit agreed to rehear the case en banc.

While the outcome of that rehearing is to be determined, AT&T has filed an amicus brief highlighting the potential for this novel decision to impose compliance costs on cell phone providers who receive thousands of demands for information to aid legal investigations. Moreover, companies like AT&T that wish to avoid liability are adding to the existing pressures to clarify this area of law.

In sum, the rapid development of cell phone technology has outpaced the development of privacy laws. During this period of questionable legal development, consumers should proceed with caution in communicating and storing information on smartphones and other devices capable of GPS tracking. Similarly, cell phone providers and other companies in possession of GPS location data should monitor the laws in this area to avoid revealing private information that could result in liability.

At our law firm, we assist clients in legal issues related to internet, cyberspace, and privacy issues. You may contact us in order to setup a free consultation.

Published on:

The recreational use of drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), has become increasingly popular in the United States. While such use has gone largely unregulated due to the unlikeliness that these drones will obstruct air traffic, commercial and governmental use of drones—especially larger drones—has sparked safety and privacy concerns leading to attempts at regulation.

What Are the Major Concerns?

With respect to public safety, the primary concern is that drones will collide or otherwise interfere with other aircraft, particularly when flown in congested airspace such airports. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) legitimized this concern by admitting the difficulty in policing drone use since they are typically undetectable by radar. Even assuming drone violations were detectable, it would be nearly impossible to track down the device or, more importantly, its operator. In addition, the inability to fully monitor drone use has caused public concern over personal privacy and accountability for breaches.

What Are the Applicable Regulations?

Earlier this month, the FAA proposed a set of rules regulating domestic commercial drone use for drones weighing up to 55 pounds. Among other things, the new rules would require operators to pass a knowledge test, register drones, and pay fees. In addition, flight would be prohibited above 500 feet, faster than 100 mph, over anyone not directly involved in the drone’s flight, beyond the operator’s line of sight, and at night. In light of the minimal safety risk posed by small drones, operators would not be required to obtain a pilot’s license or certify drone safety. On the other hand, the FAA is drafting separate rules for both larger drones requiring enhanced regulation and smaller drones that may be relieved from certain requirements.

Complementing the proposed FAA regulations designed to ensure aviation safety, President Barack Obama issued a presidential directive aimed at protecting personal privacy from intrusive government surveillance. Specifically, federal agencies will be required to publicly disclose drone flight locations within the United States and their policies for storing, using, and protecting personally identifiable information collected by drones. While the order extends only to federal agencies, Obama directed the Commerce Department and the drone industry to work together to develop a similar voluntary code of conduct for the private sector.

Privacy concerns are also being addressed at the state level. For instance, a bill has been proposed in California that would make traditional concepts of private property and trespassing applicable to drones by creating a cause of action for individuals whose privacy has been violated. In sum, a drone operator could be held liable for knowingly entering the airspace of another without permission, or otherwise trespassing to procure an image or recording of the plaintiff engaging in private activity, if the invasion would be offensive to a reasonable person.

Although, legislation will potentially allow thousands of businesses to employ drones in the near future, operators should be careful to recognize the questionable legal status of drone use. New regulations will have to endure years of public review before official implementation, and during that period can be expected to change as technology develops.

At our firm, we assist clients in legal issues related to technology, privacy, and security. You may contact us to set up a free consultation.

Published on:

In an online penny auction, participants purchase bids for a fee, with each bid placed on a particular item increasing the price of the item by a small increment (e.g., one penny) and extending the bidding period for that item by a few seconds. The last participant to place a bid before the bidding period ends pays the website the final price for the item. Unlike traditional online auction websites like eBay, all penny auction participants must pay to play. Thus, it is common for losing bidders to spend significant amounts of money, but receive nothing of value. In this sense, critics have likened penny auctions to gambling.

Are Penny Auctions Considered Gambling?

In general, bid fees are paid to the penny auction website, rather than pooled and awarded to the winner, so a bid is not technically a “bet” or “wager.” As such, existing gambling legislation probably does not apply, so consumers are protected from illegal gambling charges. Moreover, under California law, whether online gambling is an illegal “lottery” depends in part on the degree of chance involved—specifically, whether the game is “dominated by chance.” While penny auctions involve chance, the element of strategic bidding, based on factors like remaining time to bid and expected website traffic, weighs against finding that the auctions constitute illegal lotteries.

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act prohibits the transfer of funds for unlawful online gambling, so the potential classification of penny auctions as a form of gambling is concerning not only for penny auction operators, but for financial institutions as well. For example, Paypal has already begun denying service to penny auction websites, likely in an attempt to avoid liability under this statute.

The Federal Trade Commission has recognized the penny auction websites’ potential for fraud, particularly with unethical operations like shill bidding, which involves automated robots or inside bidders engaged in phony bidding with consumers. Further, the websites that employ these tactics are often scammers who never ship the prize. In addition, penny auction websites have been used to facilitate Ponzi schemes that induce consumer investments by making unfounded promises of payouts.

What Legal Repercussions Do Unethical Penny Auction Websites Face?

Although, it may be difficult to discern the legitimacy of a penny auction website, exposure to civil liability may deter websites from these unethical behaviors. For example, in 2011, the Georgia Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection sued Wavee.com for untimely shipping and insufficient disclosure that consumers were purchasing bids upon registration, leading to a settlement requiring the website to pay over $200,000 in consumer restitution, a $35,000 civil penalty, and $15,000 in administrative expenses. In 2013, the Washington State Attorney General sued ArrowOutlet.com for using shilling bots, resulting in a settlement in which the website paid $50,000 in consumer restitution. In 2012, the Securities and Exchange Commission sued ZeekRewards.com and CEO Paul Burks for operating a $600 million Ponzi scheme via its “penny auction” website. Though, the suit is ongoing, the SEC seeks to recover millions of dollars for consumers.

In sum, considering the questionable legal status and business practices of penny auctions, consumers, investors, and financial institutions should approach these websites with caution. At our law firm, we assist clients in legal issues related to online penny auction websites. You may contact us in order to set up a free consultation.

Published on:

The recent cyberattack on Anthem, Inc., one of the largest health insurance companies in the United States, illustrates the persistence and severity of the risk of data breaches. On February 4, 2015, Anthem confirmed that one of its databases had been hacked. The data breach exposed personal information of approximately 80 million Anthem customers and employees—including names, birthdays, member health ID and Social Security numbers, street addresses, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, and employment information—potentially the most damaging cyberattack to date on a health insurer.

Noting a pattern of medical data thefts from health insurers by foreign intelligence organizations, the FBI concluded that the attack was likely the work of Chinese hackers attempting to gain access to the networks of defense contractors and government workers. Moreover, while hackers have targeted healthcare providers, similar attacks on companies like Target, Sony, JP Morgan Chase, and Home Depot, signify the risk to all types of businesses.

One obvious implication for businesses that fall victim to these attacks—beyond negative press—is the exposure to liability for the resulting invasion on individuals’ privacy. For instance, individuals have already begun filing class action lawsuits for this particular breach, asserting that Anthem should be held responsible given its inadequate security measures—namely, its failure to employ encryption to prevent unauthorized access to their personal information.

What Steps are Officials Taking to Protect against Cybersecurity Threats?

In response to this latest hack, on February 13, 2015, President Barack Obama announced an executive order intending to assist in protecting companies from cybersecurity threats by encouraging them to voluntarily share more information of cyber threats with one another and with the government. While this is certainly a step in guarding against cyberattacks, there remains a strong need for cybersecurity legislation imposing mandatory information-sharing and shielding companies from legal liability for over-sharing. However, it may take some time for Congress to strengthen cybersecurity laws given the concerns over intrusive government surveillance practices and the potential use of encryption to disguise criminal activity.

How can Businesses Protect Data from Hackers in the Meantime?

Considering the fact that the major weakness in Anthem’s cybersecurity was its failure to encrypt data, encryption is an important precaution for businesses. However, encryption is a safeguard, not a guaranteed protection. Thus, businesses should be sure to become familiar with and implement updated data breach detection and response policies in order to mitigate the harm.

One particularly important cybersecurity consideration is required disclosure of a breach. In addition to reporting the incident to the appropriate federal regulator to ensure prompt identification and elimination of the threat, under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), healthcare providers like Anthem may be required to make certain notifications to former and present employees and their dependents, federal regulators, and the media. While some state data breach notification laws defer to HIPAA, specific laws of each state should be reviewed to ensure notification plans comply with any additional reporting or safeguard requirements.

At our law firm, we assist clients in legal issues related to cybersecurity breaches. You may contact us in order to set up a free consultation.

Published on:

Net neutrality refers to the principle that Internet service providers and governments should treat all Internet traffic equally, regardless of the source. Among other implications, net neutrality includes the idea that a website should not be given the option to pay an Internet service provider a premium to speed up its connection at the expense of slowing down the connections for other, non-paying websites. While this concept may seem fair enough, it is more of an ideal than a reflection of reality.

What Are the Applicable Regulations?

Under the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is authorized to regulate “telecommunications services” as common carriers, like public utilities, while “information services” are exempt from utility-like regulation. Historically, broadband Internet service providers have been classified as “information services,” and thus the FCC has not been allowed to regulate the Internet with certain rules that it may legally impose on businesses classified as “telecommunication services.”

For instance, on January 14, 2014, in Verizon v. FCC, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held that the classification of Internet service providers as “information services” precluded the FCC from requiring providers to employ equal treatment of Internet traffic. The court held that such federal rules constituted an attempt to regulate broadband Internet service providers as “telecommunication services,” and thus were outside the realm of the FCC’s authority under the Telecommunications Act of 1996. It follows that to achieve net neutrality with regards to Internet trafficking speeds, the FCC would need to reclassify broadband Internet service providers as “telecommunication services.”

On February 4, 2015, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler proposed a reclassification, announcing the FCC’s plan to reclassify the Internet as a public utility, so as to regulate broadband Internet service providers’ treatment of Internet traffic in support of net neutrality. Specifically, reclassifying Internet service providers as “telecommunications services” would allow the FCC to impose regulations prohibiting them from charging a premium to speed up or slow down specific website connections.

What Are the Legal Implications?

While equal treatment of Internet traffic would arguably help to ensure Internet openness and innovation by essentially putting all websites on equal footing, broadband Internet service providers would inevitably be subject to the cost of complying with any resultant regulations. Although, possibly well founded, these concerns may be premature, as the FCC has yet to officially vote on the proposal.

Furthermore, assuming the FCC votes to adopt the proposed reclassification, broadband Internet service providers negatively impacted by Internet trafficking regulations could file a lawsuit challenging the federal rules as outside of the FCC’s authority under the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Moreover, in addition to potential private lawsuits, Congress has the authority to prohibit the FCC from regulating broadband Internet service providers as public utilities should it find the reclassification unfounded.

Thus, although the FCC’s announcement undoubtedly signifies its stance in favor of net neutrality, the impact of the proposed classification is unclear. Should the proposal result in reclassification of the Internet as a public utility, and consequently a ban on selling speedier connections, it will be up to broadband Internet service providers, or even Congress, to challenge these new regulations.

At our law firm, we assist clients in legal issues related to the Internet. You may contact us in order to setup a free consultation.

Published on:

Virtual currencies have become a popular tool for allowing direct peer-to-peer online transactions using electronic payments that eliminate the need for conversion between currencies. Over the past few years, Bitcoin has enjoyed a considerable amount of praise as the virtual currency of choice. This hype carried with it significant funding from hopeful investors, who hailed its potential to offer a number of benefits, not the least of which being its unregulated and decentralized nature.

However, despite the initial investor optimism, recent price crashes have prompted declarations of the “death” of Bitcoin, and this is not the first time. These price crashes can be attributed, at least in part, to wavering consumer and retailer support in the face of complex technologies underlying the system. Moreover, even assuming the virtual currency can still be considered economically alive, Bitcoin is certainly a volatile investment today.

What Should Bitcoin Investors Think?

While this volatility should realistically curb investor enthusiasm, Bitcoin investors should not be too quick to consider the currency a lost cause given the announcement of Coinbase, which is the first licensed Bitcoin exchange in the United States. This announcement is particularly crucial considering large financial contributions from investors like the New York Stock Exchange. These financial institutions are similarly investing in developing Bitcoin exchanges like Gemini.com, adding credibility, and more importantly signifying a “recognition” of Bitcoin as a potentially legitimate currency.

However, whether this purported stability will inspire the consumer’s and investor’s trust that is necessary to save Bitcoin is questionable considering the currency’s original attractiveness as a decentralized method of exchanging money. Furthermore, this regulation is in addition to the IRS’s recently-announced guidelines for treating Bitcoin as property for tax purposes, thus requiring taxpayers to keep more detailed records of transactions.

What Is the Future of Virtual Currencies?

Economists believe that virtual currencies should be regulated because they can help ordinary people use an alternate source of money in case of inflation, capital controls, or loss of savings. Bitcoin will probably stay complicated, but the system that creates it (i.e., algorithm) is secure and stable. It may not have a future as a currency, but can be considered a commodity. At this time, over 30,000 businesses and charities accept Bitcoin with BitPay. For example, they include: Microsoft, Dell, Dish Network, Expedia, Intuit, Zynga, Paypal, Reddit, Virgin Galactic, WordPress, Overstock, Amazon, Target, Tigerdirect, and Zappos.

Also, the courts are seeing a wide-array of civil or criminal cases. For example, in United States v. Faiella a/k/a “BTCKing” et al., the defendant was charged with operating an unlicensed money transmitting business and conspiracy to commit money laundering in connection with operation of website that acted as underground market in a virtual currency. Defendant moved to dismiss the indictment. The district court held that: (a) defendant’s operation of website involved money; (b) defendant’s operation of website constituted transmitting money; and (c) defendant qualified as a money transmitter under 18 U.S.C. § 1960.

Meanwhile, companies like Apple are noticing the consumer’s desire for simplified online mobile transactions—particularly via a system they can trust and understand (i.e., using dollars and a transparent system). Unsurprisingly, Apple Pay has been gaining popularity as a mobile payment system in the United States, with plans to expand internationally in the future. Thus, while the viability of Bitcoin remains a topic of debate, the demand for some form of virtual currency is remarkable.

At our law firm, we assist clients in legal issues related to virtual currencies. You may contact us in order to setup a free consultation.

Published on:

In general, online privacy falls under two categories. First, is personal privacy.  Second, is corporate privacy.  For example, corporate privacy concerns the protection of corporate data (e.g., electronic communications) from retrieval or interception by unauthorized parties. Security is important for the protection of trade secrets, proprietary information, and privileged communications. The failure to maintain confidentiality can result in a loss of “trade secret” status. The relevant law is 18 U.S.C. §§ 1831 et seq. (e.g., economic espionage and theft of trade secrets). Also, the waiver of the attorney-client privilege and work-product protection come into play during litigation.

The Economic Espionage Act was the first federal criminal law protecting trade secrets. It provides penalties such as prison terms of up to 15 years and fines of up to $5,000,000. It expands the trade secret definition by including all types of business and financial information.

Trade secret owners face an unfair position when it comes to online publication of their trade secrets. One option is to obtain preliminary injunctions. However, the Supreme Court has cautioned against using the Prior Restraint Doctrine where its effectiveness would be questionable (e.g., jurisdictional enforceability concerns). The other option are registering patents, trademarks, copyrights or implementing preventive technologies.

What Are Some of the Applicable State Laws?

First, the Anti-Phishing Act of 2005 prohibits “phishing“ – i.e., posing as a legitimate company or government agency in an email, web page, or other internet communication – in order to trick a recipient into revealing his/her personal information.

Second, Business & Professions Code § 22947 prohibits an unauthorized person from knowingly installing or providing software that performs certain functions, such as taking control of the computer or collecting “personally identifiable information” on or to another user’s computer within California.

Third, the Online Privacy Protection Act of 2003 requires operators of commercial websites or online services that collect personal information on California residents through a website to conspicuously post a privacy policy on their website and to comply with it.

Fourth, Government Code § 11015.5 applies to state government agencies when collecting personal information electronically. These agencies must provide certain notices and prior to sharing someone’s information with third parties, they must obtain written consent.

What Are Practical Steps For Avoiding Privacy Violations?

A business should identify, label, and restrict access to confidential information. A business organization should utilize encryption, firewall, usernames/passwords, software detecting trade secret theft, and warnings in privileged correspondence. It should provide computers without hard drives, prohibit use of removable storage (e.g., flash drives), audit employee computers, prohibit and/or monitor external web-based email services, execute confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements, and execute computer-use policies to avoid privacy violations.

What is Geotagging?

Geotagging is the process of embedding geographical identification metadata to a photo, wherein it’s stored in EXIF or XMP formats.  The geographic information can include latitude and longitude coordinates. The data can be read by programs that allow a viewer to see where a photo was taken. The geotagged photos can be linked to map services (e.g., Google Maps, Microsoft Virtual Earth, Yahoo Maps). The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) regulates collection and disclosure of location information by telecommunications carriers. The California Attorney General has entered into agreements with major App platforms wherein they’ve promised to prompt privacy policies accordingly.

At our law firm, we assist clients in matters related to online privacy. You may contact us in order to setup a free consultation.

Published on:

The Internet of Things (“IoT”) is the next evolution and is making a remarkable impact on technology and our way of life. In fact, the availability of an omnipresent network connectivity has fostered the widespread use of smart devices.

Devices are now able to communicate with each other through embedded sensors that are linked by wired and wireless networks. For example, they include thermostats, automobiles, or pills that permit a physician to monitor the patient’s health.

Technology has allowed us to detect and monitor changes in the physical status of connected devices (e.g., RFID, sensors) in real-time. Technology advancements allow networks and objects they connect to become more intelligent. The factors that are currently driving growth, include, development of smart cities, smart cars, and smart homes, enhanced connectivity infrastructures, and a connected cultures.

What Are the Legal Concerns?

First, privacy is a concern. Unlike the Internet (i.e., world-wide-web), where the majority of information on an individual is either public or user-posted information, the IoT is governed by information that is stored by devices without human-intervention. Privacy may be compromised through sensor technologies, wearable technologies, Unmanned Aerial Systems (“UAS”), or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (“UAV”).

Wearable technology is able to generate constant, convenient, seamless, portable, and hands-free access to electronics and computers. It can be used in the military, law enforcement, entertainment, and healthcare industries. However, with every benefit comes a risk. In this case, the risk is violation of privacy rights.

Drones (i.e., flying robots) are being used by military and non-military persons. These flying robots include UAS and UAV, which are remotely-piloted autonomous systems. These machines are useful for clandestine or covert operations. However, adapting to these new devices has not been easy for society. The major concerns, include, but are not limited to, regulation, insurance, and privacy.

Second, security is another concern. Devices are now able to interact with other devices for business and personal reasons. We can control information from a single device that is synchronized with other devices. Also, devices can synchronize data with other devices, which permits collaboration, sharing, and backing up of information. So, in order to adapt to this evolution, the legal system must concentrate on the interaction of information technology with other industries. In addition, the legal system must implement a uniform view to accommodate information technology.

Remote access allows criminals to obtain access to a network that contains confidential information (i.e., trade secrets). In other words, cybercrime is a growing problem. Other issues with remote access include, data privacy, protection of proprietary rights, and liability for unauthorized use of systems.

What Are Governments Doing About It?

In recent times, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) has held public meetings on this topic. For example, it has held a public workshop to explore consumer privacy and security issues posed by the growing connectivity of devices. These workshops focus on privacy and security issues related to connectivity for consumers—both at home (e.g., smart home appliances), and when consumers are mobile (e.g., fitness devices, personal devices, and automobiles). The European Union has also addressed IoT and its risks, such as privacy, security and trust.

At our law firm, we assist clients in matters related to internet, privacy, and security.  You may contact us in order to setup a free consultation.