“German Hacking Arrest Quells Fears Attack Was Foreign Backed,” The Wall Street Journal, January 9, 2019. A self-taught hacker still in high school student was arrested for hacking the information of a bunch of politicians and celebrities. Sure glad it was a kid and not a foreign spy.
What steps do you take to prevent your information from being hacked by a high school student with no formal IT training? Is that personal governance of personal information?
“Manafort’s Lawyers Reveal New Details of His Links to Kiev Associate,” The Wall Street Journal, January 9, 2019. Lawyers attempt to “block out” part of a document (called “redact” in the trade), but some parts they attempted to keep from public disclosure showed up in the version in the court docket.
If you have a duty to your client to redact certain information, what controls do you have in place to make sure the redaction is effective? Is that Governance?
“American Express Suspends a Director in Foreign-Exchange Pricing Probe,” The Wall Street Journal, January 9, 2019. Apparently, AMEX and the FBI are investigating foreign-exchange pricing practices, and whether the rates customers were charged were altered after the customers got a quotation, either to increase the company’s profit or the employee bonuses. Ah, incentives.
It’s not nice to screw your customers (and increase your bonus) by manipulating information. And what does it say about the culture of the company that a director (small “d” director) did this? At least he was suspended.
Governance includes how a company disciplines those suspected of wrong-doing. And about how the company makes sure its incentive system doesn’t encourage bad behavior.
“Facebook, Twitter Turn to Right-Leaning Groups to Help Referee Political Speech,” The Wall Street Journal, January 9, 2019. Facebook, Twitter, and Google try to find a way to moderate stories with a political element.
Does adding advisors from different ends of the political spectrum help provide or restore credibility when you have been accused of filtering and promoting stories from one end differently than those from the other?
Are we aware of the filters that govern what news and opinions we see and hear? How do we separate the reporting of news from the filtering of news reports to advance a political agenda?
Some of our selections are self-selected, such as what shows we watch and what sources we read. But does it add value to have more opinion added to the mix when we’re looking at the “new” free press? Or is this the marketplace of ideas that is just part of the First Amendment, which protects free speech and freedom of the press? As a part of Governance, should the government establish restrictions or “equal time/prominence” rules to non-traditional publishers who have more than a minimal role in shaping public opinion? How would one draw those lines?
“AstraZeneca Appoints Controversial Cancer Doctor to Head Research Unit,” The Wall Street Journal, January 8, 2019. Doctor was accused in the past of not disclosing possible conflicts in articles he wrote. He claims the failures to disclose were accidental.
How do you accidentally neglect to disclose a conflict? Does the explanation offered (different rules in different journals) pass muster? Or is this a case of, “When in doubt, disclose”?
And what does it say to others in the company who may also “accidentally” fail to disclose conflicts? Seems to combine aspects of Governance (does your culture accept accidental non-disclosure of conflicts by higher-ups), and Information (information about conflicts is information that should be disclosed, as well as what evidence establishes an “accident”), and Compliance (how you address non-compliance with rules by the higher-ups).
“How Estimates of the Gig Economy Went Wrong,” The Wall Street Journal, January 8, 2019. Estimates of the impact of the “gig economy” based on a 2015 survey turned out to be not that accurate a prediction of the actual impact (which was minimal), looking back.
Estimates and opinions and forecasts are, in one sense, Information. But they are not facts. How do you determine how much weight to give an estimate or an opinion? Do you put your own opinion of the error band around an estimate: the plus-or-minus versus facts? Is how you use this type of Information part of Governance? Is this included in “Information Management,” or is it the other way around? Where does “how you actually use Information fit?
“PG&E to Shake Up Board as It Responds to California Wildfire Crisis, The Wall Street Journal, January 5, 2019. Following a 24% drop in market cap following the recent fires in California, the company takes action. See also https://infogovnuggets.com/2019/01/04/catching-up-again-part-2/, Item #13, “PG&E Falsified Gas Safety Records, California Claims,” The Wall Street Journal, December 15, 2018.
When, if ever, is the Board held responsible for what happens at the company? As a matter of Governance, don’t they set the culture? Don’t directors pose a risk to the company and its investors, if the directors do not fulfill their fiduciary duties?