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Intellectual Property, Privacy, & IT

In the United States, information that a company collects about the customer is legally the company's property. In the European Union, this information is the individual's property. Explain why there is this difference in the legal treatment of this information.

What do we mean by "intellectual property"? What are the differences between intellectual property and real property? Should someone be able to own intellectual property? Why or why not?

In your opinion, what is the most important social issue raised by the pervasiveness of IT? Why? How can society best deal with this issue?

In order to protect against terrorists, the U.S. government is collecting more and more data on individuals into comprehensive databases. Have you any concerns about this? Why or why not?

Describe the services provided by a credit reporting service such as Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. How are these services provided?

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In the United States, information that a company collects about the customer is legally the company's property. In the European Union, this information is the individual's property. Explain why there is this difference in the legal treatment of this information.

The European Union's Data Protection Directive regulates, through the government, the control of a customer's privacy. In comparison, the United States has not enacted a single data protection law, instead, relying on a combination of self-regulation, industry regulation, and legislation to determine ownership of personal information that is collected by companies. This is in part due to the concept that while privacy is an implicit right of American citizens, it is not clearly and uncategorically defined by the Constitution. In general, it is believed that Europeans have a different mindset, and are more distrustful of the transfer of data then Americans. Some U.S. officials also believe that America has stronger consumer protection laws that protect consumers, making a blanket law like the EU's Data Protection Directive unnecessary. In addition, American businesses have been very active in lobbying against enacting the privacy restrictions found in the EU. By collecting the information, American companies are able to build user profiles, store and trade information, which facilitates their businesses.

Here is a link to a recent story about this issue: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/26/technology/eu-privacy-proposal-lays-bare-differences-with-us.html

What do we mean by "intellectual property"? What are the differences between intellectual property and real property? Should someone be able to own intellectual property? Why or why not?

Intellectual property is a creation of the mind, for instance, an invention, literary or artistic work. It can also refer to a symbol, name or image used in commerce. Intellectual property is divided into ...

Solution Summary

This detailed solution defines intellectual property, why there is a difference in legal treatment in U.S. vs. Europe, and the most important social issue raised by pervasiveness of IT. Also discusses difference between intellectual property and real property and if someone should be able to own intellectual property. It discusses concerns over US government collecting more information about citizens and describes how credit reporting services are provided. Includes APA formatted references.

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