Category Archives: Definition

Catching up, again, part 4

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.

  1. 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.

  2.  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?

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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?

  6. 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?

  7. 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?

  8. 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?

  9. 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?

  10. 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?

  11. Ouch

    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.

 

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Catching up, part 3

Continuing from https://infogovnuggets.com/2019/01/04/catching-up-again/ and https://infogovnuggets.com/2019/01/04/catching-up-again-part-2/, and https://infogovnuggets.com/2019/01/04/catching-up-part-3/

  1. Conflicts with conflicts

    “Justice Department Chides McKinsey in Another Bankruptcy Case,” The Wall Street Journal, December 17, 2018.  McKinsey continues to fail to make what are viewed as adequate disclosures of conflicts when advising bankruptcy estates, and may not get paid for its work as a result.

  2. Voter data

    “Fight Over Voter Data Roils Democrats Ahead of Election,” The Wall Street Journal, December 17, 2018. Have Republicans been better than the Democrats at collecting and storing information?  What’s this worth?

  3. Your business partner wants you to call a shareholders’ meeting

    “Renault Urges Nissan to Call for Shareholder Meeting Following Nissan Indictment,” The Wall Street Journal, December 17, 2018.  Is this interfering with “your” governance?  Is this a compliance matter, or a partnership matter, where your partner is concerned that you are keeping your CEO as CEO while he sits in jail?

  4. Is a dance move “information”?

    “The ‘Fortnite’ Dance Move That Spawned a Lawsuit,” The Wall Street Journal, December 17, 2018.  While longer dance routine can be protected by copyright law (which was a bit surprising to me), not so (so far) for “snippets.”

  5. Hiding risk information may be a problem

    “Glencore-Controlled Miner to Be Fined by Canadian Authorities Over Congo Ops,” The Wall Street Journal, December 17, 2018.  Fine of $22 million for company and some of its former directors and executives for hiding the risks of doing business with someone connected to Congolese president.  Is a risk analysis information?  Can you hide that from the shareholders?

  6. Warning signs

    “Goldman Sachs Ignored 1MDB Warning Signs in Pursuit of Asian Business,.” The Wall Street Journal, December 18, 2018.  Can chasing business too hard lead one to ignore important information and sidestep important controls?  What controls can you put in place to avoid having this happen to you?  Is this an oversight issue?  Do criminal charges and huge fines lay ahead?

  7. VW vendor pleads

    “Volkswagen Supplier to Plead Guilty to Conspiracy, Pay $35 Million Fine in Emissions-Cheating Probe,” The Wall Street Journal, December 19, 2018. Company that designed the software used to fool or, as some say, cheat, the emission test pleads guilty to crime and pays a fine to US.  VW has paid more than $20 billion.  Is this just compliance-related, or is there also an information hook here?  Design a software to work around a government test.

  8. Looking for a whistleblower

    “Barclays Fined $15 Million by New York Over CEO’s Anti-Whistleblower Push,” The Wall Street Journal, December 19, 2018.  The CEO had tried to use the company’s security department to locate the writer of a letter critical of a recent hire.  He pressecd on, despite advice from the head lawyer and the chief compliance officer (costing him £642,000 in fines and £500,000 of his bonus).  So the shareholders pay more than the CEO did.  Go figure.

  9. Hiding the names of the guilty

    “Illinois Dioceses Withheld Names of Accused Priests, Report Says,” The Wall Street Journal, December 20, 2018.  Can you legally not disclose the name of an employee or a contractor who was accused of sexual abuse?  Is this a governance issue or a compliance issue or an information issue?  Or a reputation problem?

  10. Ethics and policies
    “Is It Really Five Stars? How to Spot Fake Amazon Reviews,” The Wall Street Journal, December 21, 2018. How Amazon goes about trying to separate the wheat from the chaff.  How does your company determine what’s a fake review and what’s the real deal?

  11. Information/price linkage

    “Room for Improvement? New Hotelier Tests an Algorithmic Pricing System,” The Wall Street Journal, December 22, 2018.  Using information about a customer and from a customer to establish the price for future sales to that customer.  Interesting linkages at a new hotel chain.

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Catching up, again

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:

  1. 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?

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

  5. 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.

  6. 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?

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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?

  10.  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?

  11. 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?

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Is it live or is it Memorex?

What impact has technology had on the flow of information in your industry, including the flow of information to and from competitors?  Are your controls keeping pace?

“Fashion Industry Gossip Was Once Whispered. Now It’s on Instagram.,” The Wall Street Journal, December 2, 2018 (online).  Instagram used to track fashion statements that are strikingly similar.

Underlying this is the point that copying someone else’s creative expression is frowned upon.  (Compliance) And that public shaming may be a more effective (and less expensive) control than copyright litigation. (Governance) And a photo of a jacket (or the jacket itself) is as much information as an email. (Information)

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What you say is information, too

“Mueller Accuses Paul Manafort of Lying to FBI After Plea Agreement, The Wall Street Journal, November 26, 2018 (online).  Did Manafort lie after he reached a plea deal?

Information is not limited to what you write in a document or an email.  It includes verbal utterances.  How do you control your “verbal utterances” when the penalty for lying to the FBI can result in 20 years in prison, regardless of what happened prior to your plea deal?

So, this involves Information (verbal statements are information), Compliance (lying to the FBI exposes you to 20 years’ in prison for each offense), and Governance (how do you avoid making an untrue utterance?).  Do your policies and controls address verbal information, and, generally, not lying to the FBI?  Need they?

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When is a record no longer a record?

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.

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Where’s Rosemary Woods?

“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?

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