Category Archives: Theme Two: Governance

Be thankful

“Journalists Face Prison Over Reporting George Pell Sex-Abuse Conviction,” The Wall Street Journal, March 26, 2019.  Australian journalists defy judge’s gag order over the conviction of a Cardinal for sex abuse.

Prior restraints on speech and the press are largely prohibited in the US, due to Constitutional protections.  But that’s not universal.

All four major vectors touched: Governance (who’s in charge? what controls?), Information (a criminal conviction of a priest for child sex abuse), Compliance (journalists complying, vel non, with a court order), and Use (by the journalists).

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Filed under Theme Four: Use, Theme One: Information, Theme Three: Compliance, Theme Two: Governance

Is your privacy “property”?

“FTC Orders Broadband Providers to Explain Data Collection Policies,” The Wall Street Journal, March 26, 2019.  The government begin to explore how broadband companies handle your private information.

While some have questions about whether there is any Constitutional right to privacy, penumbras notwithstanding, it is interesting to see a government agency begin to look into how some major providers are dealing with (e.g., handling, protecting, using) “your” information.  Is privacy a property right protected by the Constitution or an unalienable right under the Declaration that governments are obligated to protect?

Seems like Governance to me, and maybe Compliance.  Certainly Information and Use.

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Filed under Theme Four: Use, Theme One: Information, Theme Three: Compliance, Theme Two: Governance

Quiz

“Prosecutors Drop All Charges Against Actor Jussie Smollett,” The Wall Street Journal, March 26, 2019. Charges dismissed against actor accused of faking a hate crime attack.

Not what you’d readily recognize as an information governance story.  But think about the information used in filing the police reports and the controls in place to prevent false police and news reports and unjustified criminal convictions and punishments, and how well they worked.  At the police and prosecutors’ offices, the courts, and in newsrooms around the country (world).

Does your company act on unproven or unreliable information?  What does that cost?  What controls do you have in place?  Today’s quiz: how does this fit under the headings of Governance, Information, Compliance, and Use?  Identify and discuss.

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Filed under Theme Four: Use, Theme One: Information, Theme Three: Compliance, Theme Two: Governance

Duty of care

“Ill-Fated Hewlett-Packard Deal Is Back in Court,” The Wall Street Journal, March 26, 2019.  HP alleges that Autonomy fraudulently inflated its financial results, leading HP to pay an hugely inflated price for the company.

What controls are in place to prevent you from overpaying for a company?  Isn’t that why there are such things as audited financial statements and due diligence by teams of lawyers and accountants?  Didn’t HP and its board of directors consider the possibility that the numbers had been juiced?

So, principally Governance and Information.  But a bit of Compliance, as the HP directors had a duty of care (which is a legal duty), as did the directors of Autonomy.  Are they getting sued, too?  Did the shareholders of both companies assume that the directors and officers would fulfill their duty of care?

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Filed under Theme One: Information, Theme Three: Compliance, Theme Two: Governance

Oh, brother

“Duke University Agrees to Pay $112.5 Million in Whistleblower Suit Over Grants,” The Wall Street Journal, March 25, 2019.  University employee used fake data to secure federal grants.

The university employee had been found to be embezzling.  A whistleblower (using his brother as his attorney) sued under the False Claims Act.

Not a good month for prestigious universities.

Governance, Compliance, Information, and Use all in one story.  The university didn’t have sufficient controls (Governance) to manage the Information its employees were submitting to the government, and a whistleblower apparently spoke to his attorney brother and then sued to enforce Compliance (and get a slice of the recovery).  Now there’s a compelling case for the use and value of information about a colleague’s bad behavior.

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Filed under Theme Four: Use, Theme One: Information, Theme Three: Compliance, Theme Two: Governance

Matryoshka dolls

“Key Takeaways From Attorney General’s Summary of Mueller Report,” The Wall Street Journal, March 24, 2019.  AG Barr submits a 4-page summary of the much-longer Mueller report.

This just deals with Governance and Information.  Isn’t a summary or a digest by definition less complete than the full version?  But don’t we perforce rely on summaries and outlines to allow us to function, relying on the objectivity of the author of the summary to avoid true information overload?  This is true when we’re  in school and when we read a newspaper or listen to the news on TV.

Do we realize how much we rely on those filters in order to function in the modern world?  Do we really test their objectivity and honesty?  Isn’t everything peeling back the skin of an onion, or opening a Matyroshka doll (the Russian wooden doll), where you can always dig deeper and get more information?  At which level or layer do you become satisfied?  Even when the “full” version is itself actually a condensed version of all the facts?

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Filed under Theme One: Information, Theme Two: Governance

Dealing with the dark side

“Most Bitcoin Trading Faked by Unregulated Exchanges, Study Finds,” The Wall Street Journal, March 23, 2019.  More than 90% of reported trading in cryptocurrencies was fraudulent, study finds. “Of the roughly $6 billion in reported daily volume during four days in March, the firm calculated that about $273 million was legitimate.”

When do you suspect that the information your are being given isn’t true?  What controls do you have in place, and what laws or regulations control?  Is a bitcoin a security within the reach of the US securities laws?  If not, who’s in charge?

Do you want a bit more control over this, or is “buyer beware” enough protection for the savyy investor?

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Filed under Theme One: Information, Theme Three: Compliance, Theme Two: Governance