Category Archives: Third parties

Who exactly are your partners?

“U.S. Probes Microsoft on Bribery,” The Wall Street Journal, August 24, 2018 B1.  DOJ probes sales of software licenses to middlemen for ultimate sales to smaller governments.

Did the middlemen in, say, Hungary, share their discounted purchase price with government officials by way of bribes?  Even if they did, is Microsoft liable?  Unless the middlemen were Microsoft sales agents (who didn’t take title to the software licenses), or Microsoft knew of the scheme, hard to see FCPA liability for Microsoft.  Were the middlemen business partners of Microsoft, or just intermediate purchasers?

The ethics of the people with whom you do business can come back to bite you.  Your policies may apply by contract to consultants and third parties that you engage, but do they apply to the people to whom you sell/license your product?

 

 

 

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Filed under Compliance, Compliance (General), Controls, Corporation, Duty, Governance, Oversight, Policy, Third parties, Vendors

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

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

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

Gee, what could go wrong?

“Facebook Asks Banks for Customer Data,” The Wall Street Journal, August 7, 2018 A1. “[T]o offer new services to users,” Facebook asks banks for “detailed financial information about their customers.”

I can see what’s in it for Facebook, and maybe for the banks.  But isn’t this your information?  Shouldn’t you have some control what the banks do with it?  Are you comfortable with the controls the banks and Facebook will place on this information?  It might be convenient for you, but at what risk?

Do we remember Cambridge Analytica?  Will Facebook try to do this in Europe?

To whom do you complain?  Your elected representative?  Your bank?  The state or federal regulators?

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Filed under Access, Controls, Corporation, Duty, Duty of Care, Governance, Information, Internal controls, Investor relations, IT, Oversight, Ownership, Privacy, Protect assets, Security, Third parties, Uncategorized, Who is in charge?