The first installment of the EF Hutton Conference series was held on Monday, June 25 and focused on Internet user rights. For someone who has grown up in the digital age I really did not know what user rights I had, especially now, when Facebook and other social media companies are sharing my data with third party companies. Going to this conference helped me realize what user rights I have or, should I say, what I don’t.
The first speaker, Ted Claypoole a lawyer from Womble Bond Dickerson in Atlanta, GA brought to my attention how there are six different ways to access information on your phone. Going into how devices then share that information and the ways then companies can use your information. For me, that brought up a lot of concern because I never knew that companies were allowed to do that.
When Amie Steponovich, a U.S. Policy Manger at Access Now in Washington D.C. spoke, I learned about laws that are be proposed, but as of right now, don’t yet exist, shocked me. I always figured there were laws out there that protected me and my data so to come to this conference and find out I was wrong stirred up some questions that I had.
Following lunch was a round table discussion on what is next in regards to regulatory status and ethics when it comes to user rights. The round table featured Chilton, Charles Winburn, Leadership Concepts LLC in Cincinnati, OH and Zachary Heck, Attorney at Taft Law in Dayton, OH with Gery Deer, head of communications at EF Hutton as moderator. This was where the audience was able to ask any questions they had. Deer was asking questions of the speakers as well those of us in the audience that are a little shy but still wanted to find out information.
After the round table Heck spoke about our privacy when it comes to data and gave an example of a child doll over in the European Union that was banned. Heck then shared with the audience a real life example of how companies were gathering information from children about their families. It confused everyone at first when we saw the picture of the doll. Nothing really stood out about it because it looked just like every other doll you would see going down a toy aisle in a store. He told us how this doll had features similar to those of Amazon’s Alexa; it would talk to kids and ask questions about their family. That data was then stored by the company although they had no reason for it. This shocked me, that a company would use children to gain information about families.
So when Sara Jodka from Dickinson Wright in Columbus, OH talked about Regulations Today, How Are We Protected, she explained to the audience that companies view people now as “products”. Which, made a lot of people there, myself included stop and think. After listening to Heck talk about the doll it drove the point home. How both Heck and Jodka showed how companies now do not care that they use peoples data or how they get it as long as in the long run they have it and can sell it.
Martin Luther King lll then gave a powerful speech to everyone about The Dream of User Rights and how they are solutions out there and that it only takes a few people to make a change.
Everyone left EF Hutton Talks Conference with the hope that one day our user rights will be protected. We are all looking forward to the next EF Hutton Conference Series October 4, on social capital.