“AstraZeneca Appoints Controversial Cancer Doctor to Head Research Unit,” The Wall Street Journal, January 8, 2019. Doctor was accused in the past of not disclosing possible conflicts in articles he wrote. He claims the failures to disclose were accidental.
How do you accidentally neglect to disclose a conflict? Does the explanation offered (different rules in different journals) pass muster? Or is this a case of, “When in doubt, disclose”?
And what does it say to others in the company who may also “accidentally” fail to disclose conflicts? Seems to combine aspects of Governance (does your culture accept accidental non-disclosure of conflicts by higher-ups), and Information (information about conflicts is information that should be disclosed, as well as what evidence establishes an “accident”), and Compliance (how you address non-compliance with rules by the higher-ups).
“How Estimates of the Gig Economy Went Wrong,” The Wall Street Journal, January 8, 2019. Estimates of the impact of the “gig economy” based on a 2015 survey turned out to be not that accurate a prediction of the actual impact (which was minimal), looking back.
Estimates and opinions and forecasts are, in one sense, Information. But they are not facts. How do you determine how much weight to give an estimate or an opinion? Do you put your own opinion of the error band around an estimate: the plus-or-minus versus facts? Is how you use this type of Information part of Governance? Is this included in “Information Management,” or is it the other way around? Where does “how you actually use Information fit?
Hopefully, building on the last three posts9https://infogovnuggets.com/2019/01/04/catching-up-again/ , https://infogovnuggets.com/2019/01/04/catching-up-again-part-2/, and https://infogovnuggets.com/2019/01/04/catching-up-part-3/, this will close out 2018.
- Fake news
“Journalist at Center of False-Reporting Scandal Faces New Allegations Over Donation Requests,” The Wall Street Journal, December 24, 2018. The first paragraph says it all: “German magazine Der Spiegel said it would file a criminal complaint against a former star writer who admitted falsifying reports, after discovering that he also appeared to have set up a fake charity operation for Syrian children.” One can only assume the paper had a policy about not making up stories, or not fleecing the readership.
- Morally but not legally guilty.
“JD.com Founder Faces Backlash at Home: ‘Behind the Law is Morality,’” The Wall Street Journal, December 24, 2018. Even though released and after the closure of a three-month investigation into a rape allegation, the founder of a large ecommerce business in China is still getting hammered in the Chinese press (and, one might imagine, at home). Is that Governance, or Compliance? How does Compliance deal with an accusation that is not sustained?
- Libor was information, too
“UBS to Pay $68 Million to Settle State Libor-Manipulation Claims,” The Wall Street Journal, December 24, 2018. Goes back to the 2008 charges of mucking about the the benchmark London Interbank Offered Rate, used a lot in loans and such. Two aspects here, first dealing with the use of a number derived from supposedly unbiased people to govern “your” deal, and, second, the cost of non-compliance, even if long-delayed.
- Which was it?
“Maintenance Lapse Identified as Initial Problem Leading to Lion Air Crash,” The Wall Street Journal, December 26, 2018. Maybe it was not improper or inadequate training; maybe it was improper maintenance. Investigation into crash of Lion Air continues. Highlights the difficulty of establishing the facts after the fact. So much information.
- Why do you track the numbers if you don’t use them?
“Psychiatric Hospitals With Safety Violations Still Get Accreditation,” The Wall Street Journal, December 27, 2018. What exactly does “accreditation” mean, if you can have a bunch of serious violations? The failure rate is about 1%, and nearly all the inspections are by one company. This is primarily an Information point, on the failure to make use of the available information, or the failure to make it available. And does the government exercise appropriate oversight/governance given the amount of federal funds involved?
- Resume errors
“Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker Incorrectly Claims Academic All-American Honors,” The Wall Street Journal, December 27, 2018. The Acting AG apparently made this error consistently on his resume for years; he wasn’t an Academic All American; instead he was a District VII All District selection. If he were genuinely confused about what he was awarded, this makes some sense. But one would have thought that somewhere along the way this would have been discovered. Is that Information or Governance? If it were an employee at your company, what would be the sanction?
- Information vacuum
“Commerce Department Won’t Publish Data During Shutdown,” The Wall Street Journal, December 27, 2018. One wonders what the consequences will be of the absence of this data. The article says, “Investors often depend on these reports to make trades, which affect stock values, bond yields and the value of the dollar. Businesses use them to make investment planning decisions. Federal Reserve officials depend on them to make interest-rate decisions that ripple through the economy.” If you rely on a third party for key information, what do you do when you can’t get it? What’s Plan B?
- Who owns the artwork?
“‘Absolute Control’: Cuba Steps Up Artistic Censorship,” The Wall Street Journal, December 27, 2018. Cuba severely restricts an artist’s ability to make money from his or her art. Sure, this is Governance, but is art also Information?
- How does your doctor make referrals? I want to know.
“The Hidden System That Explains How Your Doctor Makes Referrals,” The Wall Street Journal, December 28, 2018. Apparently, there are processes in place that might influence your doctor’s judgment. Would you want to know that? Is there an ethical issue (Governance/Compliance) that surround this information and how it is used? Is this conflict disclosed to you? Adequately? Do the insurers (who have money in the game) push back on this enough?
- Statements on Twitter aren’t facts?
“Elon Musk Says Pedophile Accusation Against British Man Was Protected Speech,” The Wall Street Journal, December 28, 2018. Calling a cave diver rescuing boys in Thailand a pedophile is at the heart of the suit against Elon Musk. Does Twitter have no rules with which one must comply, and no one to enforce those (non-)rules? Or do we have systems of Compliance and Governance that punish libelous statements, broadly published, regardless of the media/medium?
“Wells Fargo to Pay States About $575 Million to Settle Customer Harm Claims,” The Wall Street Journal, December 29, 2018. More fallout from the account cramming and related scandals. Total payments so far: ~$4 billion. Cost of compliance, or cost of poor governance.
Filed under Access, Accuracy, Analytics, Collect, Compliance, Compliance (General), Controls, Corporation, Data quality, Definition, Directors, Duty, Employees, Governance, Information, Internal controls, Lawyers, Management, Ownership, Use, Value
I was otherwise engaged in December, what with the holidays and travel and our first grandchild, born in Hong Kong, and haven’t been posting. Here’s the month in review, in chronological order, in multiple parts:
- How to monetize your information
“Paywall for HuffPost? Verizon Hunt for Web Revenue Goes Beyond Ads,” The Wall Street Journal, December 3, 2018. Do you let people see content (plus ads) for “free,” or do you charge for access? Which one places the “correct” value on the information you are providing? What if you did both?
- Who’s in charge?
“Disney Raises the Bar Robert Iger Has to Clear to Win Bonus,” The Wall Street Journal, December 4, 2018. Shareholders push back on bonus compensation plan, demonstrating an unusual level of control (i.e., Governance) over their investment. See also, “Shell to Link Carbon Emissions Targets to Executive Pay,” The Wall Street Journal, December 4, 2018.
- How much is your view worth?
“Who’s Reading That News Story? Startup Will Help Marketers Find Out,” The Wall Street Journal, December 4, 2018. Linking the desire of publishers and advertisers to monitor what news stories you look at and for how long, a start-up fills the gap. The answer to the question,”Whose data is that?” is taking on multiple dimensions.
- It takes a village to prevent someone from getting top-secret information
“China Maneuvers to Snag Top-Secret Boeing Satellite Technology,” The Wall Street Journal, December 5, 2018. Boeing seemed unconcerned when a customer for one of its satellites told Boeing that the customer was being financed by Chinese interests, to whom sale of the top-secret technology involved was restricted. But after an alleged payment default, Boeing cancels order. “Boeing Backs Out of Global IP Satellite Order Financed by China, The Wall Street Journal, December 7, 2018. Did the press coverage have an impact?
- Law firms leak, too
“U.S. Prosecutors Charge Four People in Panama Papers Probe,” The Wall Street Journal, December 5, 2018. Action follow leak of law firm documents showing how wealthy people hid money from tax.
- Who owns (or controls) the Cloud?
“China’s Alibaba Takes On Amazon in European Cloud,” The Wall Street Journal, December 5, 2018. Chinese Cloud company challenges Amazon for control of the Cloud in Europe. Which (the US or China) will better protect the privacy of the users?
- Does your information governance program cover the content of the training provided to your customers?
“Boeing Omitted Safety-System Details, Minimized Training for Crashed Lion Air 737 Model,” The Wall Street Journal, December 6, 2018. Questions arise after 189 people killed in a crash and the crews hadn’t been trained on the new flight-control system.
- Facebook tried to monetize “your” data? Gadzooks!
“Facebook’s Zuckerberg at Center of Emails Released by U.K. Parliament,” The Wall Street Journal, December 6, 2018. Newly released emails show that Facebook apparently considered charging app developers for accessing “your” data held by Facebook, and suggest Facebook discounted the chance of developers sharing that data with others.
- Not “just-in-time” discipline
“Wells Fargo Firing Dozens of Regional Managers in Retail-Bank Cleanup,” The Wall Street Journal, December 6, 2018. More than two years after the account-cramming scandal, Wells Fargo starts to fire some regional managers for failure of oversight responsibilities. Sort of like punishing your full-grown dog for an accident she had as a puppy. And what about the executives who were overseeing those fired managers?
- Biometrics is/are information, too
“Microsoft Pushes Urgency of Regulating Facial-Recognition Technology,” The Wall Street Journal, December 7, 2018. Lack of worldwide restrictions on surveillance without a warrant leads Microsoft to urge restrictions on the technology. Is privacy when in public a basic human right?
- It’s not the crime, it’s the coverup?
“U.S. Alleges Huawei CFO Hid Ties to Telecom With Iran Business,” The Wall Street Journal, December 8, 2018. Did the CFO lie to hide from banks connections Huawei had with company that did business with Iran? What is the impact to the current state of trade relations with China?
Filed under Accuracy, Board, Compliance, Compliance, Compliance (General), Compliance Verification, Controls, Corporation, Definition, Directors, Duty, Governance, Information, Internal controls, Managers, Oversight, Oversight, Ownership, Privacy, Protect assets, Protect information assets, Technology, Third parties, To report, Value, Vendors, Who is in charge?
So, you have a baby coming. You establish a baby registry online, and list the items/gifts you want to receive. And then the host of the registry accepts payments from vendors of baby products to add certain items to “your” list.
Is nothing sacred?
“New Parents Complain Amazon Baby-Registry Ads Are Deceptive,” The Wall Street Journal, November 29, 2018 (online). Amazon accepts money from major companies to put “sponsored ads” on your list; there’s a small gray box saying “Sponsored.” Nothing descriptive like, “Similar to things the mother-to-be actually wants.”
I guess you have to check to make sure that you check “your” list at least twice, to make sure that Amazon hasn’t made it theirs. No bait, just switch.
Where’s the FTC on this? Would you buy from a company that paid to advertise on someone else’s gift registry, without asking? Are they a bit scummy? These aren’t small-time companies; advertisers buying the ads include Kimberly-Clark and Johnson & Johnson. To sell baby products!
Next thing, they’ll be posting billboards on your roof and on your car. Without so much as a by-your-leave.
Filed under Accuracy, Compliance, Controls, Corporation, Culture, Data quality, Duty, Duty of Care, Governance, Information, Internal controls, Oversight, Ownership, Third parties, Value
If you are looking to invest, it would be nice to know if the broker who has been recommended to you has a history of complaints by his/her customers or employers. If you are the prospective broker, it would be good to be able to present a clean record, even if your record isn’t clean.
“Brokers Purge Their Records,” The Wall Street Journal, November 19, 2018 B1. Brokers can request that complaints be expunged from the records of the industry-funded regulator. So, were you to ask you would be told there’s no record.
So, what is a clean record worth, when a dirty record can be so easily laundered? I guess there may be multiple definitions of “record,” one of which is documentation of a business activity or decision, and the other of which is a conviction.
On the internet, no one knows you’re a dog.
“Trudeau Says Canadians Heard Khashoggi Tapes,” The Wall Street Journal, November 13, 2018 A7. Canadian intelligence officials hear audio tapes related to killing.
One assumes that this is a tape of some conversation picked up by intelligence folks after the killing, and not a recording of the killing itself. Unless someone wanted to have proof for the boss. Perhaps intelligence agencies spy on other governments or phone calls.
Often, people think information governance is all about the written word. But the spoken word is information, too, whether it is recorded or not. It’s just a problem of proof. Is someone listening or taping your conversation? Would it matter?
Filed under Access, Accuracy, Communications, Controls, Definition, Duty, Governance, Government, Information, Internal controls, Risk assessment, Security, Third parties
“Boeing Withheld Data On Potential Hazards,” The Wall Street Journal, November 13, 2018 A1. Did Boeing fail to disclose potential problems with its new flight-control feature? Was that a factor in the Lion Air crash in Indonesia, killing 189 people?
Maybe this feature didn’t factor into the crash; we’ll have to wait for the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder. But if you know something and don’t tell other people who would like to know — well, that’s bad. Even if you didn’t want to confuse them by providing them too much information. Was it better “marketing” to tell their customers that they wouldn’t need as much training?
How do you decide how much information to provide your customers? Are there problems you don’t mention? Why?
Filed under Access, Accuracy, Communicate, Communications, Controls, Corporation, Data quality, Duty, Duty of Care, Governance, Information, Internal controls, Management, Risk assessment, Third parties
In the macro sense, one of the bits of information that we own, manage, and hopefully control is who we are. How does the government control and manage this?
“Banks Find Solutions for ID Fraud at DMV,” The Wall Street Journal, November 13, 2018 B10. Banks may use DMV databases to verify your online identity, because how you have to establish your identity to get a driver’s license normally involves you appearing in person and providing supporting documents.
Key to the process at the DMV is the trained person who checks your supporting documents. The banks want to leverage that person’s knowledge and experience, rather than relying on a bank manager to do it.
Where else in our lives do we rely on government employees rather than ourselves as a critical control?
Filed under Access, Accuracy, Controls, Data quality, Definition, Duty of Care, Governance, Information, Internal controls, Knowledge Management, Operations, Oversight, Privacy, Protect assets, Third parties, Use
A Tesla employee is indicted for creating fake documents to cover up a fake-payment scheme. “Former Tesla Employee Is Indicted,” The Wall Street Journal, November 12, 2018 B5.
Companies have a lot of controls to prevent fraud by employees, and often these controls work. Why are there more such controls to prevent financial fraud than to prevent violations of other company procedures, such as those related to document creation, retention, and storage?
One wonders whether, in the aggregate, companies lose more money through poor document management and control than they lose through financial fraud. How would one conduct such a study?
Filed under Accuracy, Compliance, Compliance (General), Controls, Corporation, Directors, Duty, Duty of Care, Employees, Governance, Information, Internal controls, Oversight, Protect assets, Records Management, Security, Third parties, Value, Vendors