During the pre-internet days the control, monitoring, and accountability regarding sensitive federal, military, or corporate intellectual property was a tangible physical activity where hidden documents or other recognizable media could be uncovered simply by controlling people and physical facilities.
The majority of our federal and state laws were constructed around physical property to preserve ownership and enabling constructs to control privacy.
Pop culture explored those behaviors in numerous movies where nefarious state-actors would infiltrate a building to capture photographic images or out-right remove file folders and paper documents. During these times there was a clear understanding of data as property.
The rapid on-set of information digitization tools, systems, and transmission mediums offer significant value in terms of search, access, exchange, and repository management. Unfortunately, these tools create a version of information much less understood by society, compared to the photos or file folders of the past, thereby leaving you to deal with a much less tangible risk interpretation. Subsequently digitized information invokes a much lower human perception of value where users often agree to terms and conditions without comprehending the impact, choose to employ 3rd party services potentially in foreign nations, and pay less attention to the security and control over your digital information.
Well “my data” is a far more convoluted conversation today which is why we are in this unknown state of data as property ownership today.
Where I see the risk is threefold, first there is the fact that 3rd party service providers will always include their protection in the event of breach, they will not be responsible for your data or its value, second your data, even protected by copyright, is so only in its final publicly available form so try to argue you have copyright over the magnetic fields1 spread across a 3rd party hard drive1, and third the data inputs or your self-directed actions placed into systems that create your content also contain valuable, saleable, and potentially personally identifiable information.
This third point is some of the greatest risk as significant information can be obtained and applied in ways that impact the value you create. The unique rhythm you type on the keyboard creates an identifying reference that can track your activities or consider the gps location extracted from mobile device applications. All of this information can be collected, monitored, processed, and monetized without your knowledge or permission.
Question, when you turn on the WiFi of your mobile device who owns the ‘broadcast rights’ for the spectrum? So, if you don’t own it and your copyright information is modulating the signal how do you prove ownership of the data transmitted?
Question, recent research demonstrates that an individual’s level of depression can be associated to the way and number of times you pick up your mobile device and browse data, don’t you think insurance companies would like that data? You do realize that the keyboard on your mobile device is itself an application that can extract data, you did know that right?
For all of us there is more personally driven data generated than just the output of your product such as actions displayed on the screen, output on a 3d printer, or the sound of music you create. Your actions controlling digital tools involved must also be considered in the digital data scheme where legal frameworks will take decades to argue into laws that protect. 1 substitute this with any storage technology architecture.