IT’S hard to read media without running into a new story about different kinds of corruption, collusion and rule breaking. Whether or not the stories we read are true, organizations caught up in them often lose credibility.
This week I would like to focus on money laundering, which forms part of the corruption menu. Unfortunately, Denmark, the second-least corrupt country in the world on the Corruption Perceptions Index of Transparency International, finds itself entangled in Europe’s biggest-ever money-laundering scandal. But, money laundering is not limited to Denmark, as you can see below:
Representatives of the private sector were invited to a dialogue with the chairman and the commissioners of the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) to discuss areas where cooperation makes sense in achieving the “level playing field” we are all interested in. All participants agreed that a level playing field involves, besides “fair competition” anti-corruption, a fair taxation regime, data- privacy protection and cybersecurity. It became obvious that compliance officers/security managers will play an increasingly important role in business and government as we move forward.
FOLLOWING the Facebook data security issue with Cambridge Analytics and others, we are all receiving e-mails from Twitter, Facebook, Google and many others, advising us of their new privacy rules and requesting us to read them carefully and accept them. Many of us, I am sure (me included) receive the e-mail, have a brief look at the long privacy rules and promptly delete it. Either we don’t care whether someone has our private information or the cost—measured in time and hassle—of changing the passwords, etc., was greater than the expectation of the harm from not doing so.
Over the last two years, scandals unveiled by the publication of the Panama and Paradise Papers grabbed headlines, shocking citizens and shaming the corrupt. These scandals made prominent an ugly truth—that corruption and unethical practices undermine the benefits of globalization by exacerbating inequality, deterring investment and distorting competition. These revelations showed an urgent need to strengthen public integrity, double down on anticorruption reform, create a level playing field for businesses, and close legislative loopholes. Moreover, they demonstrated the need to rebuild trust between governments and citizens.
Data protection is in the news daily. Reports on data breaches are common and the damages involved are substantial, in the Philippines, in the Eropean Union, the United States and in other important partner countries of the Philippines. In general, we are talking about a combination between data-privacy breach and cybersecurity breach. More specifically, let’s look at the incoming law in the EU, which is not far away from the data-privacy law of the Philippines, as you will see.
The world of data security is a highly complex and fluid environment where businesses must set in place policies and procedures that are proactive, rather than reactive, to the ever-present threat of data- security breach, as well as complying to an increasingly rigid regulatory framework. The need for C-suite level data-protection officers is only one of the requirements of the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Unlike the current Data Protection Directive, GDPR will also apply to organizations or “data controllers” based outside of the European Union.
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There is no doubt that organizations and their managers are more and more exposed to compliance breaches, be it in data-privacy protection, anti-corruption, quality control, tax payments or meeting regulatory requirements in general.
PERFORMING effective risk assessments can be a difficult art to master. The very phrase—“compliance risk assessment”—can encompass a wide range of risks: anti-bribery, whistle-blower retaliation, data-privacy breach, workplace harassment, anticompetition, product safety and much more.
A person is said to have integrity if his or her actions are consistent with his or her principles, and his or her actions, beliefs, methods, measures and principles all come from a single core group of values. An individual’s value system provides a framework within which the individual acts in ways that are consistent and expected.
When corruption has become systemic, it resembles organized crime. It has its own parallel system of recruitment and hierarchy, or rewards and punishments, of contracts and enforcement. This parallel system has some inherent weaknesses: for example, in no country in the world are bribery and extortion legal. Therefore, they must be kept (somewhat) secret. The money gained must be hidden. New members cannot be openly recruited. The mechanism for enforcement is illicit.
We (European Chamber of Commerce and Makati Business Club) formed the Integrity Initiative in 2010. Looking back, we are happy that progress has been made in our mission against corruption, both in government and in the private sector. But have we created the “Integrity Nation” in the six years we have been in operation? I hate to say that we have a long way to go, both in our change advocacy with the national and local governments, and our target to get 10,000 companies to sign the Integrity Pledge and live up to the commitments contained in the pledge.