Data Protection Act
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The Data Protection Act was a law first introduced by the United Federation of Planets in 1992 as an attempt to clamp down on the abuse of crewman Data by fellow crew members. According to intergalactic law Data's status as an artificial being left a Grey area in the legislature as to his sentient rights. Data abuse soon became a universal pastime amongst the space crazy crew of the Enterprise until it was discovered by all round goody two shoes Deanna Troi.
Troi insisted the matter be taken to court, and after a lengthy high galactic court trial Troi, working off the precedent created from Data's previous court win managed to secure Data's right to consent. Picard however moved for a mistrial under the argument having Betazoid lawyers with the ability to sense all emotion was completely unfair and that reading minds to discover the real truth behind a matter was an affront to the great and highly flawed legal system we all know and love. Picard succeeded and soon the case turned into a prolonged court battle and media circus. Support had grown amongst the Federation's non-sentients and after a series of protests and emotionally charged displays finally the case was won in Data's favor. Data himself commented that "I really didn't mind seeing as I have no conception of the self nor emotions at all but I guess that's beside the point."
Data retired from the Federation shortly after this incident and started an information transport company called The Internet. The Internet grew into a global industry and employed thousands of highly trained Chinese babies and Klingons who delivered receipts and invoices between individuals and porn companies. This activity was soon exploited by criminal organizations who tracked the courier's movements in order to reveal the location of Data and the central hub of the operation.
edit Public outrage
Public outrage was huge after the destruction of The Internet and Data was once again left unprotected. The Federation announced an updated Data Protection Act (1995). This involved a series of elaborate shrink rays which would enable the baby workers to travel underground through special tubes and pipes, meanwhile above ground massive roaming death squads of Transformers controlled by Leonard Nimoy would annihilate anyone who dare threaten Data and the information we entrust in him.