Category Archives: Data quality

VW Compliance Executive Pleads Guilty

“Ex-VW Official Admits Role in Emissions Cheating,” The Wall Street Journal, August 5, 2017 B3. A former VW “compliance executive” charged with conspiracy to defraud the US, wire fraud, and Clean Air Act violations pleads guilty.  He admits he knew about the software used to mislead US environmental regulators.  Faces sentencing in criminal case in December.

Hiding information from the government is not a good thing.  What was the culture that allowed this to happen?  Did people feel a need to do this to compete?  Too many car companies have been caught up in such scandals to have it be random.

The shareholders have paid (and are continuing to pay) for the mistakes of the employees of the company.  Who else from the company is going to go to jail,  or lose his/her job?  VW is facing costs in just the US of more than $25 billion and investigations elsewhere.  Does the “compliance executive” know of others who also knew?  Might he offer up some names before December?  People who bought VWs are going to want to recover damages from someone.

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Filed under Accuracy, Analytics, Board, Compliance, Compliance, Controls, Corporation, Culture, Culture, Data quality, Directors, Duty, Employees, Governance, Information, Internal controls, Oversight, Oversight, Value

Pesky little documents

“Caterpillar Faces New Questions in Probe,” The Wall Street Journal, July 3, 2017 B1.  During a criminal investigation, required export documentation couldn’t be found. Apparently, there are also inconsistencies between what was submitted to the Department of Commerce and what was turned over in response to subpoenas.

So, a corpration may be charged criminally.  What about officers, directors, and employees?

It is only foolish consistency, not inconsistency, that is the hobgoblin of little minds.

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Filed under Accuracy, Compliance, Compliance Verification, Controls, Corporation, Data quality, Duty, Employees, Governance, Information, Internal controls, Oversight, Value

Snitches get stitches

Apparently, keeping the identities of confidential informants secret poses some challenges.  Are there information governance lessons to be learned?

“Inmates Targeting Informants,” The Wall Street Journal, June 21, 2017 A3. “[C]lose to 700 witnesses and informants believed to have cooperated with the government have been threatened, wounded or killed” over three years.  One source of information: online court records that provide clues as to who cooperated with the prosecutors.  Some inmates may be posting their sentencing files to establish their bona fides.

Hard to classify this in this blog.  Does this pertain to

  • the value of accurate and complete information
  • the risk in making information widely available
  • the government’s duty to protect informants
  • the government’s duty to have a transparent criminal justice system
  • a defendant’s right to confront his/her accusers
  • the need for security and the difficulty in providing it
  • the proactive value of disclosure
  • the fact that information can be misused
  • the difficulty in creating effective controls
  • other?

 

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Filed under Access, Accuracy, Communications, Compliance, Controls, Data quality, Duty, Duty of Care, Governance, Government, Information, Internal controls, Oversight, Privacy, Protect assets, Risk, Third parties, Value

Kidnapping v. stealing information

One unique aspect of information is that it can be stolen, yet remain in the owner’s possession.  Apparently, medical facilities are required to report if your medical information is stolen, but not if it is merely kidnapped and held for ransom.

“Some Cyberattacks Go Unreported,” The Wall Street Journal, June 19, 20127 B3.  Whether hospitals need to report a ransomware attack of their files as a data breach is a “gray area,” and the federal government doesn’t require such reports, even if the government knows about them.  Some hospitals don’t report ransomware attacks, so these attacks are not in the HHS statistics.

So, patients don’t know when hospitals have weak security protection.  What value, then, are the government statistics?  Do they need a big asterisk?

 

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Filed under Controls, Corporation, Data quality, Duty, Government, Information, Internal controls, IT, Legal, Requirements, Security, Third parties, To report, Value

Reporting, vel non

Does your radar go wild when someone suggests delaying the report of information?

“Sunrun Sales Data Seen as Skewed,” The Wall Street Journal, May 23, 2017 B1.  In the run-up to the company’s IPO, some managers were told by their managers to hold off on reporting a number of canceled contracts.  Reporting this information would have reduced the sales numbers, as the canceled contracts were a large percentage of total orders.

What does it say about a culture where the bosses ask managers to do this type of thing?  And no one says, “No”?  Was no one bright enough to connect the dots?  What else is suspect?  Are employees clueless as to their common law duties to report wrong-doing or deviations from company processes?

 

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Filed under Accuracy, Compliance, Compliance, Controls, Culture, Data quality, Duty, Employees, Governance, Internal controls, Management, Managers, Oversight, Supervision, To report

You manage what you measure

If the Board asks how much the company paid for something, “I don’t know” isn’t a good answer.  Neither is “We can’t track that today.”

“Algorithms Help Calpers Tally Fees,” The Wall Street Journal, May 23, 2017 B1. The question was how much the pension plan had paid private-equity managers in performance fees.  It turns out the answer was $3.4 billion, over 25 years, with $490 million last year.  Answer was derived using algorithms.

“It took five years to develop a new data collection system that requires private-equity managers to fill out various templates describing their various fees.”

How comforting – a self-graded exam for $3.4 billion in fees.

What’s information worth?  How can you manage without it?  How did they?

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Filed under Access, Analytics, Board, Collect, Controls, Corporation, Data quality, Directors, Duty, Governance, Information, Internal controls, Management, Operations, Oversight, Oversight, Protect information assets, Third parties, Use, Use, Value, Vendors

Algorithms

Is the use of algorithms to set prices a subterfuge to facilitate price fixing?

“To Set Prices, Stores Turn To Algorithms,” The Wall Street Journal, May 9, 2017 A1. Use of algorithms to establish prices for a wide range of products, from Staples to gas stations based on “big data.”

But what if everyone uses the same algorithm?  Or if the algorithms are wrong or the data upon which they are based is wrong?  Can anyone explain what they do and how they do it?  The ultimate black box.

 

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Filed under Analytics, Business Case, Collect, Compliance, Data quality, Governance, Information, IT, Management, New Implications, Operations, Oversight, Use, Use