Category Archives: Ownership

Catching up

I was working on another project, and could not do my postings as timely as I would like.  But here’s a bunch of news items I wanted to write about:

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Filed under Compliance, Compliance, Controls, Corporation, Directors, Duty, Duty of Care, Employees, Governance, Lawyers, Oversight, Ownership, Privacy, Third parties, Uncategorized

The grip on your information

“Apple Eases Its Grip in Chinese Data,” The Wall Street Journal, July 13, 2017 B3.  “To comply with tough new cybersecurity rules, Apple will begin storing all cloud data for its Chinese customers with a government owned company [in China] ….”  Apple “will retain control over encryption keys.”  That makes me much more comfortable.

It might appear that China is exerting its grip on the data stored by Chinese customers on iCloud.  But whose data is it, anyway?  And what if other countries take similar steps with their citizens’ data?  Any opportunity for mischief?

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Filed under Access, Controls, Information, Internal controls, IT, Ownership, Privacy, Security, Third parties

The Day that Information Governance Died, the Sequel

Last July, after the July 5 new conference, I wrote about the consequences of James Comey’s decision not to prosecute,  I view that as The Day Information Governance Died.

This week, we had the sequel.

If you create a document in the normal course of your duties for your employer, about a conversation held in the course of your employer’s business, using the employer’s computer, then that document is the property of your employer.  It’s “proprietary.”  You can’t take that document with you when you’re fired and then give it to others.  Even if it doesn’t contain privileged information.  Or your purported recollections of a conversation in your official capacity with the President, subject to executive privilege.

But Mr. Comey seems to be above (or maybe beside) the Law, generally.  And he is (until the ethics people get a hold of this) a lawyer.

“The ‘Close Friend’ Behind Memo Leak,” The Wall Street Journal, June 9, 2017 A4.   Comey leaks a memo he wrote while a government employee to a friend, in order to leak it to the press.

And we wonder why we have a hard time getting traction on information governance.

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Filed under Controls, Duty, Employees, Information, Internal controls, Lawyers, Ownership, Privilege, Third parties

We have a Winner

What do you do when you discover who violated the law by leaking a classified document?  You arrest them.

“Contractor Charged in Leak,” The Wall Street Journal, June 6, 2017 A4.  Reality Winner, an employee of a contractor for the NSA, was arrested and charged for leaking a classified document to the news media.  A criminal offense.

Interesting story of how the government found out.  A news agency provided a copy of the document and requested the government to confirm its accuracy.  The government could tell from looking at the copy that it had been folded, and concluded someone printed it out and sneaked it out.  IT logs showed six people had printed it out.  The computer of one of them showed email contact with a news agency.  When questioned, Ms. Winner fessed up.

Common themes:  the NSA needs to watch the employees of its contractors carefully; IT has a record, somewhere; criminals get arrested; a newspaper can inadvertently disclose confidential sources.


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Filed under Access, Controls, Corporation, Duty, Employees, Governance, Government, Information, Internal controls, IT, Oversight, Ownership, Protect assets, Security, Third parties, Vendors

The self-governing company

Uber fired the executive at the heart of the dispute with Google over self-driving cars.  The exec failed to meet a deadline to comply with a court order to turn over documents in a trade secret case over self-driving cars. “Uber Fires Executive At Center Of Suit,” The Wall Street Journal, May 31, 2017 A1.

Lesson?  If you hire an employee from a competitor and he’s accused of stealing his former employer’s trade secrets, try your best to look good.

What’s your process for keeping new employees, especially from competitors, from damaging your business and your reputation by bringing in your competitor’s trade secrets?  Did you follow it, or is it just there for show?

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Filed under Communications, Compliance, Controls, Corporation, Duty, Employees, Governance, Information, Internal controls, Management, Managers, Oversight, Ownership, Policy, Protect, Third parties, Value


Travel-related backlog.

Executives do go to jail.  “Ex-VW Official to Stay in Jail,” The Wall Street Journal, May 26, 2017 B3.  The official was head of the environmental and engineering office.  VW had already pleaded guilty to criminal charges in connection with the diesel emissions scandal.  So the company AND some executives are criminally charged!  Guess Sally Yates meant it.  At least for foreign companies.  But no directors have been sued.  Yet.

“FBI Holds Memos for Now,” The Wall Street Journal, May 26, 2017 A4.  Congress wants the memos that ex-Director Comey wrote, but the existence of the special counsel (also the ex-Director) and Congressional “inquiries” have muddied the waters.  Whose information is it, anyway?  And can’t we all look at them together?  Right after Mr. Comey testifies?  Interesting that the FBI can withhold non-privileged memos, whatever their weight may be.

Chairman doesn’t go to jail.  “Leader of Brazil’s JBS Steps Down,” The Wall Street Journal, May 27, 2017 B1.  The bribing scandal in Brazil’s meat-packing industry removes the chairman and his brother from the Board (although the brother remains as CEO).  The chairman signed a plea bargain in exchange for criminal immunity.  Curious about the culture at the company after the plea deal.

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Filed under Board, Compliance, Compliance, Compliance, Controls, Corporation, Culture, Culture, Directors, Duty, Employees, Governance, Information, Internal controls, Investor relations, Management, Oversight, Oversight, Ownership

Consider the source

Facebook is a source of information, but isn’t responsible for fake “news”on the platform.

“Zuckerberg Refutes Election Criticism,” The Wall Street Journal, November 14, 2016 B4.  CEO says Facebook is not an arbiter of truth.  Says less than 1% of site’s content “would be classified as fake.”

Where do you get your information?  Do you and should you trust it?

Is Facebook a better source of news than Rolling Stone?  Are The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times arbiters of truth?

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Filed under Access, Accuracy, Controls, Data quality, Duty of Care, Governance, Internal controls, Oversight, Ownership