Category Archives: Internal controls

Finally, we have a winner

At least somebody goes to jail for leaking top secret information about Russian hacking of elections.  In less than a year and a half.

“Former Intelligence Contractor Gets Five Years in Prison for Leak,” The Wall Street Journal, August 24, 2018 A2. Reality Winner, a contract worker at the NSA, gets sentenced for leaking a secret report on election hacking by the Russians from the NSA to a news outlet.

The rules do need to be enforced from time to time, or they are more like guidelines.  And contractors seem to be a weak link.

Did anyone else in the chain of command get punished?  If she were in Washington, DC, rather than Augusta, Ga., would she have faced the same fate?

See also https://infogovnuggets.com/2017/06/06/we-have-a-winner/.

 

 

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Filed under Compliance, Compliance (General), Controls, Duty, Employees, Governance, Internal controls, Oversight, Protect assets, Third parties, Vendors

Who’s the boss?

To have governance, is a single point of accountability required?

“Workers Deal With Too Many Bosses,” The Wall Street Journal, August 21, 2018 B1.  According  to a recent poll, two-thirds of employees have more than one boss.  Some employees respond by trying to manage their bosses.

From a Governance perspective, if you have multiple bosses, who sets your priorities?  Who establishes the policies and procedures and instructions that you, as an employee, must follow?  How does one resolve conflicts?

And which one person in your organization bears responsibility/accountability for the overall Governance of your company’s Information?  Your company’s overall Compliance with law and with company policy and procedures?

Without such a single point of accountability/responsibility, who gets punished if things don’t go right?  If no one is held responsible/accountable at the C-suite level, do you really have a program-in-fact, as opposed to a program-on-paper?

 

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Filed under Compliance, Compliance (General), Controls, Corporation, Directors, Duty, Employees, Governance, Internal controls, Supervision, Who is in charge?

Labels

Labels are shorthand.  Does the person using the label mean the same thing as you do?

“For Some Bonds, It’s Too Easy Being Green,” The Wall Street Journal, August 20, 2018 B1.  A quarter of Chinese bonds marketed as green bonds were rejected by “a de facto watchdog for the market” as not really being environmentally friendly.

On the Internet, no one knows you’re a dog.  In the world of finance, who validates your dogness?  What does it say about a company that tells fibs about the greenness of their bonds?

Are labels inherently suspect?  Or inherently believable?

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Filed under Accuracy, Communications, Controls, Culture, Definition, Governance, Information, Internal controls, Third parties

Controlling speech

How does one control speech in the public forum without encroaching upon fundamental freedoms?

“On Social Media, a Battle Is Brewing Between Bots and Trolls,” The Wall Street Journal, August 11, 2018 B7. Blocking some speech and some speakers would be bad if the government did it.  But is it better if private companies do it, especially when they have pervasive power over the communications streams currently in use?

There’s battle brewing, indeed.  Are the Facebooks and Googles of the world mere utilities getting paid solely for carrying content from all comers, with no power (or financial interest?) over the content they carry, or are they publishers with some accountability?  If the technology tools they use to screen out the “bad” stuff (terrorists, for example) also screen out unpopular (to someone) speech, who pays damages?

If a company is quasi-governmental, shouldn’t it be subject to quasi-constitutional limitations?

This seems to me to be Governance, Compliance, and Information.

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Filed under Access, Accuracy, Communications, Compliance, Compliance (General), Controls, Corporation, Data quality, Duty, Governance, Government, Internal controls, Third parties

Loose lips, revisited

The prior post was about what you say and in what medium.  So’s this one.

“SEC Probes Musk Tweets On Possible Tesla Buyout,” The Wall Street Journal, August 9, 2018 A1.  Were Elon Musk’s tweets about having lined up financing for a buyout false or misleading?  The SEC may want to know.

So, is information false or misleading?  I thought we had freedom of speech?  And (altogether too much) freedom to tweet?

Falsely shouting fire in a crowded theater is still a bad thing (thank you, Justice Holmes).  As is misleading your shareholders.

Should a CEO of a listed company know better?  Loose lips sink ships.

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Filed under Accuracy, Communications, Compliance, Compliance (General), Controls, Corporation, Definition, Duty, Employees, Governance, Information, Internal controls, Investor relations

Value

The value of information can be calculated in multiple ways, from multiple viewpoints.

“My Boss Makes What? (Employees Work Harder If They Know),” The Wall Street Journal, August 6, 2018 R1. Salary transparency makes people work harder.

Is what you make “private”?  Should it be?  Whose interests are served by keeping this information private?  Who owns it, you or your employer?  Do anyone have a duty to keep this private?  Why would your employer want this kept quiet?  To avoid Sally complaining that she works harder/better/faster/quieter than Sue, and should be paid more? Or to keep a competitor enticing Sally away?

Ask yourself why you want to keep your salary private.  Sure, you don’t want marketing agencies targeting you because you’re wealthy, but they probably can approximate your salary anyway.

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Filed under Access, Accuracy, Communications, Controls, Corporation, Culture, Duty, Employees, Governance, Information, Internal controls, Managers, Ownership, Privacy, Third parties, Value

Penalties

A key element of either Compliance or Governance (or both) is penalizing violations.  Otherwise, the rule is on paper only, and isn’t real.

“U.S. Steps Up Grid Defense,” The Wall Street Journal, August 6, 2018 A1. Government devising new penalties for foreign (and domestic) agents who hack into critical infrastructure.

Sounds good.  But might we be better off with a few more ounces of prevention (education, technology controls, testing, etc.)?  The “internal” controls.  By the time you’re penalizing folks, you’ve been hacked.

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Filed under Access, Compliance (General), Controls, Duty, Governance, Government, Interconnections, Internal controls, IT, Security, Technology, Third parties