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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Dear NSA - I Deleted an Important Document - Could You Please Send Me a Copy?

By: Peter J. Lamont, Esq.
New Jersey Business and Personal Law Attorney
Law Offices of Peter J. Lamont

Call it paranoia over the recent shenanigans of the NSA, or label it due diligence; but this past year has seen over two dozen privacy laws, largely dealing with cyber security, passed by ten state legislatures.
The reason cited by many lawmakers in these states concerns the seemingly ever-widening scope of NSA intelligence gathering, primarily cyber related. Washington's impasse on fortifying privacy laws has compelled states as diverse as Oklahoma and California to take matters into their own hands.
They are facing strong lobbying from technology giants, who have been achieving some success in an effort to protect their bottom line. Lobbying efforts in California were able to put the brakes on a Right To Know bill which could have hurt the online industry. The bill concerned the sharing of customer data, an integral source of advertising income.
Few would argue the need for NSA involvement in the ongoing war on terror, and most take comfort in it. But what about spill-over involving surveillance of US citizens. The NSA routinely spies on friends as well as foes, if recent news reports are any indication.
By way of an obviously exaggerated example - what possible value could there be by intercepting a text from a high school senior to her boyfriend concerning the color of her gown for the up-coming prom?
The fact remains the NSA gains access to pretty much anything it wants and the majority, if not all, of this information is stored electronically.
A groundswell of national concern over this power is growing, as evidenced by the aforementioned state laws. But what of average American citizens?
The old adage that if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear, does not hold water in this case. Privacy is the issue. Had the nation's founders foreseen the age of the computer, perhaps they would have included it in the fourth amendment.
Which leaves us wondering - what can be done to protect our online privacy?
Sadly - not a lot.
Clearing caches and history is a start - if you are not sure how to go about it - check your online help section.
Always remember - it is difficult, if not impossible to erase anything on the net. Think twice before blogging anything, no matter how innocuous it may seem - the same goes for texts, tweets and anything on Facebook or any other social media.
Encryption? Hmmm... The NSA is one of the largest employers of mathematic savants - the guys whose jobs are to decrypt.
Bottom line - be cautious and live with a new age.
One upside though - should you accidentally delete an important work document, you can try contacting the NSA and see if they would be kind enough to send you a copy!
If you would like more information about this topic or have general legal questions, please feel free to contact me at (973)949-3770 or via email at plamont@peterlamontesq.com We answer legal questions on a daily basis and would be happy to discuss any issues or questions that you have with you.  Offices in: New Jersey New York, Colorado & Puerto Rico.  Affiliated throughout the country.
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