I gave a speech at the Telestrategy's ISS World 2007 Conference (http://www.telestrategies.com/ISS_WASH/index.htm) in Alexandria, VA yesterday. The conference topic was Data Fusion - the use of data mining technologies for law enforcement and anti-terrorism. I spoke at a similar conference two years ago and was looking forward to meeting with that group again, but this crowd was far different and the industry has matured rapidly. Two years ago, I confronted a room of 800 regional law enforcement officials from 48 data fusion centers in the US. And I was on the agenda presenting Data Privacy. It was awkward at first, but after a few minutes we had fun together talking about the push and pull of government data mining and the protection of privacy and civil liberties. It was a group of concerned citizens trying to harness new technologies to make law enforcement more efficient but each also had their own individual concerns about how their work might endanger US privacy rights. So we found common ground and both this presenter and the audience learned something from the exchange.
This year, I confronted a small conference room with 45 people from military contractors, DIA, CIA, DHS, and a bunch of Israelis who were pretty reticent about what they did for a living. My topic was Data Governance, and aside from some technical questions from a guy working for Ratheon, no one else in the room seemed terribly interested.
In the expo hall, I discovered why. Congress and Washington's privacy elite might think that debating warrant-less wiretaps and FISA Court obfuscations are vital to preserving data privacy, but what I saw in the Expo room in Alexandria persuaded me that discussion is public posturing at best, or a charade for the ignorant at worst. The privacy cat is out of the bag, and the data fusion industry has found many market-oriented, privatized, and convenient workarounds to do what they think needs getting done with very little judicial, congressional, or constitutional oversight.
Case in point: I met a company called Spectronic. They make a communication interception technology that uses cell phone triangulation technology first developed by carriers for mobile 911 service. They sell it to public and private security services for communication monitoring during events. I can appreciate the utility of this technology.
The impetus for developing it lies with the fact that working with courts and telcom carriers is a tad slow and inconvenient where criminals and terrorists are concerned. So instead of relying on our beloved privacy preserving telcom carriers to provide triangulation and tracking of suspect cell phones at an event, law enforcement can entirely avoid that unpleasant process. They can just purchase a few of these oven-shaped boxes from Spectronic and deploy them along the perimeter of any event and instantly watch everyone's cell phone voice, data, email, location, etc, dragnet style.
Very efficient, and this was just one booth in a hall full of spy toys and spies...
Privacy Professionals take note. The rapacious marketplace, burgeoning Homeland Security budgets, and the privatization of government, are making our efforts vainglorious at best.
As I left the Spectronic booth the very nice sales rep shrugged her shoulders and told me "it's the world we live in..."
I replied "no, it's the world we create."[Read More]
Adler on Data Governance
From archive: December 2007 X
DataGovernor 120000GKJR 1,750 Views
Recently a colleague sent me a very interesting article written by Wim Van Grembergen of the IT Governance Institute, entitled "The Balanced Scorecard and IT Governance." You can find this paper in PDF format here: http://studies.hec.fr/object/SEC/file/A/WPNAQMCMKBJNBLEYHCGTKWNNXVBNNMFG/balscorecard&IT%20governance.pdf
I recommend reading it because it does provide a high-level introduction to the topic of Governance from a very IT perspective. What follows is my own critique of the thesis of this paper and why I think it points IT in the wrong direction.
Overall, I think this is an interesting paper with some inaccurate interpretations. It is more of a Balanced Survey than a Balanced Scorecard and it assumes a very hierarchical, industrial, organizational structure in Governance that I think is at odds with the way organizations really function in the post-industrial Information Economy.
In the industrial model, the flashlight of corporate information shines up. Those closest to the bulb are blinded and only those at the top can see the light at its widest aperture. That is a model for control, not innovation. Control was incredibly important in the industrial age because production cycles were long and stability of resource and labor supply was critical. That was an age of Monopoly and Economy of Scale.
Today, we live in an age of intensifying global competition, shrinking product lifecycles, very low barriers to market entry, and enormous complexity in our financial, consumer, and internal markets. Governance has emerged as an organizing force below the Boardroom because every employee, customer, business partner, and associate is a potential source of innovation and innovation thrives when the light of information is spread evenly across an organization and everyone can appreciate its radiance.
Net: We are experiencing the beginnings of great changes in the modern corporation, and Governance (Data, IT, SOA, Whatever) below the board is an early manifestation of this emerging trend. Good that others are recognizing and writing views on Goverance as a legitimate management discipline, but the approach described in Van Grembergen's paper is rooted in industrial models of organization that are already giving way as corporations and nations adjust to the Information Age that is already upon us.[Read More]
In April 2007, the International Monetary Fund revised its Fiscal Transparency Code of Conduct as a set of recommended practices for governments around the world. The four pillars of the Code are:
- clarity of roles and responsibilities, - open budget processes, - public availability of information and - assurances of integrity and data quality
While the Code was written for governments, Fiscal Transparency has many market benefits to businesses too. Companies building Data Governance Boards might want to review this Code of Practice as guidance for constructing functional and operational principles in their Charter. It shouldn't be lifted literally, but there are many good ideas here that can be applied.