Ethical Boardroom carries an article called How the general counsel can shape information governance by Jake Frazier and Sonia Cheng of FTI Consulting. It focuses less on the IT, data security and regulatory aspects of IG and more on that often-overlooked aspect, reputational risk and ethical duties.
A perhaps exaggerated focus on fines and penalties has relegated the equally important matter of “trust in the brand”. There was a time when bad news about corporations was only to be found in the business sections of newspapers. Web sources, whether owned by responsible reporting organisations or populated by eager critics on Twitter or Facebook, mean that news, particularly bad news – and more particularly news affecting consumers – travels very quickly, and often inaccurately.
This affects the perception of a corporation by governments, regulators and shareholders and, equally importantly, by clients and customers.
This and more specific specific ethical obligations are, the article suggests, part of the responsibility of general counsel, whose role in information governance has yet to be properly appreciated in many organisations.
As a separate but related point, the FTI article explains how the ethical duties of general counsel extend to an obligation to acquire and maintain an appropriate level of technical knowledge.
Jake Frazier and Sonia Cheng also identify some top issues for general counsel in the context of information governance in 2017. These include improving internal processes in order to meet eDiscovery and related demands, engagement in the implications of moving data to the cloud, the General Data Protection Regulation, cybersecurity and the development of artificial intelligence.
The article ends with some practical suggestions derived from FTI’s work with corporations, including some tips on getting started.