Category Archives: Communications

Electrical banana (reprise)

Slack is a new communications software in use in many companies.  Do your policies deal with the implications of the use and misuse of yet another new technology?  How will you handle this when litigation comes in?

“Tips to Tighten Slack Users’ Skills,” The Wall Street Journal, October 12, 2017 B4.


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Filed under Access, Communications, Compliance, Content, Controls, Corporation, Discovery, Duty, Duty of Care, Employees, Governance, Information, Interconnections, Internal controls, IT, Legal, New Implications, Oversight, Policy, Protect assets, Security

Silence as information?

I normally cite to The Wall Street Journal.  But occasionally I come across something elsewhere worthy of note.  One of my sources is the Business Law Prof Blog.  There was a post there today titled “Omissions Liability: Tempest in a Teapot or Gathering Storm?

At issue, can there be Rule 10b-5 liability (dealing with securities fraud) for not saying something, when you had knowledge and something akin to a duty to disclose.  There’s a Supreme Court case (Leidos, Inc. v. Indiana Public Retirement System) pending that may resolve the issue.

Is a corporation’s failure to say something in itself information, and if so, is that silence itself information that must be governed in order to be compliant?  How do you manage/govern silence?


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Filed under Board, Business Case, Collect, Communicate, Communications, Compliance, Compliance, Compliance, Controls, Corporation, Directors, Duty, Governance, Inform market, Inform shareholders, Investor relations, Management, Third parties, To report

Investigating riots

“Judge Grants Access To Protesters’ Data,” The Wall Street Journal, August 25, 2017 A3 (when I evacuated Houston).  Prosecutors get some access to data on who used a certain website to plan protests on Inauguration Day, which protests led to riots and vandalism.

Freedom of speech is a big control on information governance.  But as Justice Holmes said, you can’t falsely shout “Fire” in a crowded theater with impunity. (The word “falsely” is often dropped.)  So some access seems okay, does it not?

The other side of information security.


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Filed under Access, Communications, Controls, Duty, Governance, Government, IT, Privacy, Security, Third parties

Lawsuits as a management technique

“Shareholders Sue More Frequently,” The Wall Street Journal, August 22, 2017 B1.  Study show shareholders (or class action lawyers) are litigating more when their company is sued, alleging false and misleading statements by management.  One-hundred thirty-one suits in fist six months of 2017.

So, when communicating to the market or shareholders, make sure everything will stand the test of time.  Is it accurate?  Is it complete?

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Filed under Accuracy, Board, Communications, Controls, Corporation, Directors, Duty, Duty of Care, Governance, Inform market, Inform shareholders, Information, Investor relations, Risk assessment, Third parties, Value

Are you being manipulated?

“CEO’s Simple Trick on Earnings Calls: Saying ‘I,’ ‘We’ and ‘Us’,” The Wall Street Journal, August 7, 2017 R1.  Do CEOs control their use of “I” and “us” to manipulate your response?  If they are doing this, who else is massaging their language to influence you?

Are you a critical listener?  Does the content of the information delivery affect your reception?  Do people other than CEOs do this?

There are people who make a living teaching others how to do this.  Sometimes for crisis response, sometimes for news broadcasts.

Is this information governance?  Is someone controlling how you get information?

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Filed under Accuracy, Communications, Controls, Data quality, Governance, Information, Investor relations

Put it in writing

There are hard requirements (like laws and such) and soft requirements, somewhat more mystical.  If you want people to obey, make the requirements (or guidance) hard, which requires writing them down, and publish them on the web..

“China Put Investment Controls In Writing,” The Wall Street Journal, August 19, 2017 A1.  Controls deal with overseas investment by Chinese companies and investors.  Restricts investment overseas in property, hotels, entertainment, and sports teams.  Allows investment in critical technologies.

Does your company operate based on unwritten guidelines?

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Filed under Communications, Compliance, Controls, Corporation, Duty, Governance, Internal controls, Third parties

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