Picture this (no pun intended). You are walking down the street and someone snaps a picture of you on his or her cell phone even without your permission. Here is what is going to pop up on their cell phone.
A picture of you
John Doe | 1111 Green Street | Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Cell phone 412-999-0000 | Vice President – ABCD Marketing
Former Employment | Bachelor of Science, University of Pittsburgh 1980
Wife – Jane Doe (or divorced) | 2 Kids, John Jr. and William
Other relatives | Links to Articles about You
AND maybe a whole lot more.
How is this possible? It is a cell phone application coming out of development and soon. Sometimes cell phone applications are free and sometimes they are subscription services. The software application assumes that anywhere your picture is posted on the Internet, including mine on this page is fair game for copying, or is it? Once the cell phone snaps your picture it will search through special recognition software to find everything it can about you from public records, even linked articles that may or may not be controversial.
This virgin software comes with many questions. In the end, will it violate our Right to Privacy or our right to own material under copyright law? On the other hand, how does this app affect the developers; do they have the right to Freedom of Expression through the First Amendment to use your picture in this way?
You have to bear with me to get you up to speed on what is happening in the IP world (Intellectual Property), because this is all about software development. In the next decade you are going to hear software, software, software and you are going to see software, software, software on the stock market.
If you like good movies with plotting and scheming, this is where this all gets interesting. The “Anonymous Hacking Group”, a group against civil disobedience has promised to literally take down Facebook, which is the major source of information for the above mentioned camera app and recognition software. Anonymous is real and this is current, the FBI has arrested over 16 people so far as reported by CBS in July of 2011. Anonymous has already taken down and attacked Facebook sites.
The leader is known as (a real a.k.a.) Commander X. Anonymous, in the name of privacy and civil obedience has the power and will take down any site that the group chooses. They have attacked numerous sites and have declared warfare by either taking down or supporting (whatever serves the cause better) against examples like the following list below. Anonymous plays the “for and against” game.
– Against The Church of Scientology supporting their denouncing epilepsy requiring medication (after John Travolta’s son died of a seizure. Travolta, a practicing Scientologist took his son off seizure medicine and there was a big controversy about medicine and epilepsy. This protest started after the Tom Cruise You Tube video surfaced protecting the right of Scientologists.
– Against the No Cussing Club (because the site was contrary to Freedom of Speech rights)
– Against Facebook, even attacking individuals whose cause they did not like
– Against the Oregon Tea Party for using one of their quotes
– For Iran free elections, against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
There is a list of many others. You might deduce as I did, it is extremely hard to tell what site they will target and what issue they will pick next. They have targeted foundations and companies and even individuals.
Now let’s get back to the software app. The app was developed at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. For the purpose of this article, if you did not understand the ability of the group Anonymous you might not be able to predict what is going to happen with your right to Privacy.
The software application developed by CMU, uses a research protocol and searches the facial recognition first and then everything attached to that facial recognition. You will no longer be “anonymous” once this app is sold; you are a blip of recognition software.
You can read about the software here.
Assuming that the app is going to work; where is the majority of information stored about you? The main two sites that come to mind are Facebook and LinkedIn. I cannot tell you how it is going to play out with your Right to Privacy, but I can give you some advice for reputation and media asset protection.
– Make your Facebook page private.
– Pay attention to every social media site you join.
– Leave your spouse and children out of the picture.
– Do not post your home address, anywhere. (Anonymous even sent bogus pizza delivery and prostitutes to targeted houses.) – Use a junk email address to gather general information. You may even need to be “anonymous.”
– Copyright and Trademark your Intellectual Property including your site.
– Remove public information about yourself wherever possible!
– If you need to counter your reputation, call us, we can help you with this recognition and help you to remove what is a violation of your privacy.
– Wear a hat in public (only kidding). Don’t bother because the software recognizes bone structure.
You may have guessed that there is line of government and law enforcement agencies ready to purchase the cell phone application.
This is a glimpse of a changing world right in front of our eyes. To me, this article begs, even if we are as old as dirt, we need to live in the future! This does not mean to live in fear, however be smart! As the great leaders of Asset Protection warn us: Be Stealth Wherever Possible!
In a follow up newsletter, we will discuss placing Intellectual Property into a trust as a method of Asset Protection.