Who owns your data?

If you’re thinking law school, you would not be stupid to consider “data law.” The courts will be jammed with data litigation in coming years. Lawyers in that arena will send their children to elite schools while they spend weekends on the yacht. It’ll be that big a deal.

I guess so because Wall Street is knocking heads over who owns the massive data generated by stock trading. Cannot the same fight club be forming over commodities, real estate, and on down the line to Snapchat (or is it just Snap!) photos? Even before we could post this, Homeland Security and Twitter sued each other over who owns what.

I once worked for an organization whose policy claimed that they owned anything written on one of their machines. So, if a guy wrote his novel on their laptop, they thought they owned it. You might imagine how many people wrote novels, or anything else. None. You might also guess how many who did publish wrote on the company laptop, then lied about it. All of us would be my guess. I am in a guessing mood today.

Questions for The Ethics Award

What is your organization’s internal data ownership policy?

How does it motivate your people toward ethical and creative problem-solving? (That is, after all, what one hires people to do.)

How do you handle your customers’/clients’ data?

Can you demonstrate as much care with others’ data and privacy as you expect others to care for your data and privacy?

What level of risk does your data policy expose you to?