Monthly Archives: February 2015

Who governs?

The FCC declares it has oversight over the Internet.  And who can object?

FCC Sets New Era Of Net Oversight,” Wall Street Journal, February 27, 2015.  FCC asserts authority to regulate the Internet.

Quo warranto?  In Marbury v. Madison, the Supreme Court decided that the Supreme Court had the final decision over what was constitutional.  I thought the Constitution didn’t give the Fed the power to regulate the Internet and that therefore that right was reserved to the States and to the people.  Tenth Amendment to the Constitution (ratified December 15, 1791).

Is the essence of governance that everyone agrees you have the power to govern?

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Filed under Governance, Interconnections, IT

Nature abhors a vacuum

Who governs the Internet?  For now, the answer is either no one or every one.  But not for long.

Europe Aims to Impose Data Rules,” Wall Street Journal, February 25, 2015 B1.  The EU attempts to regulate the Internet within its borders, apparently largely driven by privacy concerns, not competitive forces.

Between that, and net neutrality (as opposed to market-driven net), and whose going to run ICANN and domain name servers, it’s hard to know who’s governing the Internet, and how.  Is EU or US or UN control better than no control?  How much governance is too much?

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Filed under Compliance, Controls, Culture, Governance, Interconnections, IT, Oversight, Ownership, Policy, Security, Third parties

Where do you put it?

What does where you store it say about the information you store?  When are the restrictions of the new storage location outweighed by the risks posed by the alternative storage locations?

Apple Will Store Data At New Sites In Europe,” Wall Street Journal, February 24, 2015 B1.  Despite the burdens of EU privacy law on collecting, storing, processing, and transferring personal information, Apple sets up two data centers in Europe.

Is this Apple’s commitment to privacy or a response to Edward Snowden?

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Filed under Business Case, Controls, Interconnections, IT, Privacy, Risk

Information in context

One metric in evaluating investments is “earnings.”  But do the earnings numbers need to be adjusted for how long the CEO has been there?

If a New CEO Appears to Be Doing A Great Job, Take a Closer Look,” Wall Street Journal, February 23, 2015 R5.  Earnings often overstated in first three years of a CEO’s tenure.  Happens less at companies with “stronger monitoring…, and board and audit-committee independence.”  Really?

What impact does this have on the culture?  Where’s the Board? Where’s the CFO?  Where’s the GC?


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Filed under Board, Business Case, Compliance, Compliance, Compliance Verification, Controls, Culture, Culture, Data quality, Duty of Care, Governance, Information, Internal controls, Investor relations, Oversight, Oversight, Risk, Value


I don’t normally post on Sundays, as The Journal isn’t published and I am left with the Houston Chronicle. But this is too important.

Lying in the military common, study finds,” Houston Chronicle, February 22, 2015 A10.  Officers “ethically numb” due to the other demands on their attention.  And “the armed forces themselves may be inadvertently encouraging it.”

What does it say about culture when the prototypical command-and-control organization lies? Where else is the culture eroding?  How can businesses succeed where the military is failing?

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Filed under Culture, Risk

Friday afternoon

Fridays can be slow news days, but they are good times to send out bad information.

Extension, and Snafu, for Health Law,” Wall Street Journal, February 21, 2015 A1. The White House unilaterally extends the sign-up period on, while admitting that it send 800,000 folks incorrect information about their 2014 coverage, complicating early tax filings.  About 750,000 taxpayers told to hold off on filing their tax returns.  The error was apparently in what the forms say local health care premiums are.  Assuming, arguendo, that the taxpayers are in a State with a State exchange.

What duty does the tax collector have to be clear, accurate, and timely when providing instructions to taxpayers?  What remedy is there for falling short of that goal? I’m confused.

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Filed under Communications, Compliance, Culture, Data quality, Duty of Care, Governance, Investor relations, Oversight, Risk, Value

Measure what you measure

A key element of management of anything is developing metrics.  You get what you measure (and reward).  I was reminded of this when viewing a video by Nick Milton the other day on knowledge management, where he refers to people, process, technology, and KPIs (key performance indicators).

But what if your metrics are measuring something other than what you want?

Great Moments in NFL Combine Failure,” Wall Street Journal, February 19, 2015 D6.  As part of the selection process, the NFL runs possible players through a bunch of tests and measures the results, and make decisions based upon that information.  But it appears that several superstars did poorly on the tests but great on the field.

Do your performance metrics measure performance, or do they just collect numbers?  Are you measuring what matters, or what’s easy to collect?

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Filed under Analytics, Collect, Data quality, Information, Knowledge Management, Management, Oversight, Use, Value

What price access?

Two stories from today’s Journal on what it costs to get quicker access to information.

Pay for Wi-Fi? Only at a Luxury Hotel,” Wall Street Journal, February 19, 2015 D1. While mid-range hotels include wi-fi in the rack rate to remain competitive, luxury hotels include surcharges for wi-fi or faster wi-fi.

AT&T Tacks a Privacy Charge on High Speed,” Wall Street Journal, February 19, 2015 B4. If you want hyper-speed Internet from AT&T, there are two prices.  It’s $70 for “basic,” but $99/month if you want to opt out of having your information turned over to others for advertising and marketing purposes.  Think of it as having basic network channels for free (actually, the price you pay is having to put up with the advertisements that are tied to the product you want – i.e., the shows), versus what we’ll pay for ad-free (or ad-less) TV.  Call that $29 the privacy premium.

What are you willing to pay for access to “your” information?  Are you getting what you pay for?   Can you charge the other folks who harvest your browsing history $29/month for the privilege, and cut out the middleman?


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Filed under Controls, Information, Privacy, Value

The $200 doorbell

Doorbells provide you information: someone is at your door, wanting to come in or talk or drop something off.

Would you pay $200 for a doorbell?  I might.

Doorbells Become the Eyes, Ears of Smart Homes,” Wall Street Journal, February 18, 2015 D1. For sale: doorbells that include video and can connect to to your smartphone to alert you that someone is at the door.  And can spot someone skulking outside your door.

Exterior cameras have been around awhile.  But is this use of a common device to combine functions and, through a wireless network, let you answer with your phone, a useful improvement on the information provided?  Just another in the parade of the Internet of Things?

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Filed under Collect, Communications, Definition, Governance, Information, Interconnections, IT, Security, Use

The people people become data nerds

HR now has an app to generate even more metrics.  It provides “people analytics.”

You Aren’t a Human, You’re a Data Point,”Wall Street Journal, February 17, 2015 B1. This “treats the humans in an organization just like any other asset …; as something that can be monitored, analyzed and reconfigured.” Another way to quantify the “otherwise nebulous concept of corporate culture.” “In a modern corporation, data is a kind of currency.” “The more of it you have, the more power and influence you wield.”

Interesting, that people are being treated as collections of information, and that that information needs to be, and can be, managed.

Also: The Journal changes the name of its Marketplace section to Business & Technology.  Today’s section had a heavy focus on information, with stories on

  • the Apple smartwatch,
  • algorithms at UPS to help with route planning,
  • the costs and benefits of cloud computing, and
  • attorney-client privilege in the international realm.


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Filed under Analytics, Business Case, Collect, Culture, Definition, Governance, HR, Information, Legal, Management, New Implications, Oversight, Privilege, Use, Value