Category Archives: Content

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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Filed under Communications, Compliance (General), Content, Controls, Definition, Duty, Governance, Information, Internal controls, Legal

Public utility

Is YouTube a public utility, subject to government control and with an obligation to serve all comers?  Or is it something else, subject to different rules?

“YouTube Clamps Down on Gun Videos,” The Wall Street Journal, March 22, 2018 A4.  YouTube decides to restrict certain videos about guns and gun sales.

Once you open your business up to the public, don’t you have an obligation to allow legal conduct on your site?  Where else can you refuse to serve someone who wants to do something that’s legal?  Say, for instance, could YouTube forbid any use of its site by Democrats, Republicans, or Catholics?

Where do you draw the line, and who draws it?

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Filed under Access, Accuracy, Compliance, Content, Controls, Corporation, Duty, Governance, Internal controls, Policy

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

Digging out

I was otherwise engaged last week and missed posting.  Here are some catch-ups.

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Filed under Accuracy, Board, Communications, Compliance, Compliance, Content, Controls, Corporation, Directors, Discovery, Duty, Employees, Governance, Government, Inform market, Inform shareholders, Internal controls, Investor relations, Oversight, Privacy, Protect assets, Protect information assets

Who or what?

Who or what governs what you do and don’t do?

“Legislators Barred From Taking Office,” The Wall Street Journal, November 16, 2016 A13.  Incoming legislators who decided to change the oath of office to add words of allegiance to a “Hong Kong nation” were barred from office for violating the Basic Law and for not being sincere or solemn.

Were these two legislators-to-be (or not to be) subject to the governance of the Basic Law (the constitution-like document governing Hong Kong post-1996) or the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress?  Or just unclear on the duties involved in taking an oath?

And can you be punished/sanctioned for not being sufficiently sincere?  And does anyone recall an oopsie and subsequent re-do by the Chief Justice in giving President Obama his oath of office?

And, finally, did the legislators-not-to-be understand the value of the addition of those words?  Content matters.

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Filed under Compliance, Content, Controls, Governance, Information, Internal controls, Legal, Oversight, Third parties, Uncategorized, Value

Content matters

Often overlooked in the information governance discussion are the controls over the words people use to communicate.

“Harvard Suspends Soccer Players,” The Wall Street Journal, November 2, 2016 A2.  A scouting report with vulgar references to other soccer players leads to cancellation of the remaining two games of Harvard’s otherwise Ivy League-leading soccer team.

A common business practice is to subject employees to business communications courses, focusing on Watch What You Write.  Is that information governance?  Apparently they don’t have that course at Harvard.

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Filed under Communications, Compliance, Compliance, Content, Controls, Definition, Duty, Employees, Governance, Information, Internal controls, Legal, Management, Oversight

Another car problem

VW has been much in the news of late.  But remember the Pope being driven around in a Fiat on his US tour?

“Fiat Failed to Report Auto Deaths,” The Wall Street Journal, September 30, 2015 B1. Fiat accused of not reporting injuries and deaths, as required by law.  Regulators notified Fiat in July.

Accurate and complete information in reports to the government.  Is there a trend?  Is this within the jurisdiction of an agency of the US government?

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Filed under Board, Business Case, Compliance, Compliance, Compliance Verification, Content, Controls, Directors, Duty, Employees, Governance, Internal controls, Oversight, Oversight, Risk, Third parties

Big ears

When we think “information,” we think of things that are written down or captured electronically, including videos and such.

But what about what you say?

“Traders Beware: They’re Listening,” The Wall Street Journal, September 14, 2015 C1. [I’m trying to download the link, but WSJ changed things today.  Ed.]  Wall Street is now using new technologies to monitor the phone calls of its traders.  Puts a premium on personal meetings over phone calls.  For many, this isn’t new news.

Does this change the definition of “information,” or just impose additional controls?

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Filed under Access, Collect, Communications, Compliance, Content, Definition


Absolute words, such as never, none, always, all, and every, are common targets in business writing courses.  Watch when you use them, as they admit no (not few) exceptions.

“‘Unlimited’ Plan Draws $100 Million Fine for AT&T,” The Wall Street Journal, June 18, 2015 A1.  AT&T fined after it is disclosed that AT&T limited data rates of “unlimited” data plans above 5 gigs.

Do you consider “limits on content” as within the scope of information governance?  Who in your organization is responsible for the words your corporation uses in its communications, both internal and external?  Is content control on your agenda?  Hint:  it’s not IT or records managers.

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Filed under Business Case, Communications, Compliance, Content, Controls, Definition, Duty of Care, Governance, Information, Internal controls, Legal, Management, Oversight, Policy, Risk, Use

Seven Bullets

Emails Track J.P. Morgan Hire in China,” Wall Street Journal, February 7, 2015 A1. Emails about the hiring and retention of the son of China’s commerce minister, potentially in return for currying favor with his father, come up in FCPA investigation.

  • Emails last forever; watch what you write. Did JPM need to retain all these emails? Could they have disposed of all of them?

White House Role in Web Plan Probed,” Wall Street Journal, February 7, 2015 A4.  White House, FCC connection explored regarding the net neutrality move.

  • What is meant by “independent agency” in the US government governance context? Who controls, under what rules?  What’s the culture?

Tribunal Rebukes U.K. Over Spying,” Wall Street Journal, February 7, 2015 A7. Judicial panel says the UK’s “communication intelligence agency … violated the rights to privacy and freedom of expression” by not disclosing enough about what the agency does.

  • Is supervision of compliance/non-compliance the essence of governance?

Engine Error Seen in Data From Taipei Crash,” Wall Street Journal, February 7, 2015 A7. Flight data recorder shows fuel to engine turned off prior to crash.

  • One reason you collect information while it is happening is to figure out what went wrong.

NBC Opens Probe of Williams,” Wall Street Journal, February 7, 2015 B1. Internal investigation into the Iraq helicopter and Hurricane Katrina stories by one of the network’s most valuable assets.

  • How do you maintain your organization’s credibility when your star performer loses his? Is this part of your crisis management plan?

Push Against China Tech Rules,” Wall Street Journal, February 7, 2015 B4.  China wants insight into source code used by Oracle and IBM in their database services, used by financial firms in China.  Do you want the business so much you’ll give up control over your most precious secrets to a potential competitor?

  • Was this a predictable consequence of Edward Snowden’s disclosures?

Google Panel: Limit Right to Be Forgotten,” Wall Street Journal, February 7, 2015 B4. Google only removes data from European based domains, despite EU privacy ruling.

  • How far does the power of governance extend?  Beyond your national boundaries?


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Filed under Collection, Communications, Content, Controls, Culture, Duty of Care, Governance, Internal controls, IT, Legal, Management, Oversight, Policy, Protect, Risk, Security, Use