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When Something Hits Close To Home


Internet Attorney Drew Rossow is interested in our dependency on technology and the importance it can hold on our lives. If you are affected by anything touched on in this update, follow the links to our support services throughout the article.

When something hits close to home, your eyes open a bit wider than they normally would. I knew I wanted to protect not just my family, but others from those types of misconduct. The crazy thing was that I didn’t know what area of law I wanted to practice until my last year of law school. What I did know was that I was fascinated by technology. My generation came to be known as the “millennial” generation.

Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, I found myself receiving my B.A. from Hofstra University in New York and my JD from The University of Dayton School of Law in my Dad’s hometown of Dayton, Ohio.
Since the release of the Motorola Razr and the Blackberry Curve, I’ve been fascinated with our generation’s attachment and dependence on these devices, as this technology paved the way for quick and impersonal communication. Watching how the people around me resorted to texting rather than having face to face conversations, it became very easy to dive in and out of relationships.

The breaking point, in my opinion, was the release of the very first social media platforms, Xanga and MySpace, which of course, many people, including myself, had. These “blogs” with friend lists started the phenomenon that is now known social media. It also created a very dangerous consequence—trolling and cyberbullying. What I noticed was how quickly people jumped into this world of cyberspace and created their “online identities,” real and fake.
Going through law school, I realized that while it may be difficult to start a career solely in Internet and Technology law, I wanted to be one of the very first in my field, at least in the Midwest, to exploit the untouched legal boundaries of cyberspace and the consequences it brings. Specifically, I wanted to help those who are trolled or find themselves victimized by various instances of cyber-bullying on our modern-day social media platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram.

By hiding behind these “black mirrors,” individuals are able to use these as a modernized digital weapon of sorts. By looking into this unregulated area of cyberspace, we also uncover the risks associated with online privacy and what it means to be digitally vigilant and diligent. With great bandwidth, comes great responsibility. The core component of digital diligence is ensuring that both individuals and businesses have proper security measures in place to protect their personal identifiable information (“PIAA”) – the core component of digital diligence.

Having passed the Ohio Bar Exam in 2016, I immediately began exploring ways to not only learn how to be an effective lawyer for my clients in the areas of criminal defense and corporate law, but to dive into the unchartered territories of how the legal field intertwines with cyberspace. I found my way in during the summer of 2016 with the release of Pokemon Go, an augmented reality mobile game for IOS and Android smartphones. Having written an article on the privacy concerns the game brought to its users and the potential legal implications for its developers, the article eventually went viral and led to an invitation to write as a contributor for The Huffington Post and many collaborations with ABC, Fox, and NBC. Since this publication, I decided that instead of primarily using this interest to profit, I would use my interest to spread awareness and help protect consumers from potential cyber threats through the creation of my #CYBERBYTE news series via Twitter and Facebook. Each week is focused on a different cyber-related topic, whether it’s hacking news or data privacy tips.

The Cybersmile Foundation is everything I stand for and emphasizes my passion and desire to continue to spread awareness and protect those who choose to create their own online identities and enjoy the privileges associated with the Internet.

My biggest piece of advice to any young lawyers — keep reading and keep researching. Learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

If you are affected by any kind of online abuse related problem we can help! Visit our Cyberbullying and Digital Abuse Help Center or our Total Access Support section to find out about the different ways we can help you with your particular problem. For further information about Cybersmile and the work we do, please explore the following suggestions.

Drew Rossow is an Internet Attorney at Gregory M. Gantt Co. L.P.A. If you’re interested in learning more about Drew’s #CYBERBYTE series go to the Facebook page or check out his Twitter @RossowEsq.