Trust In Tech Craters

In a massive survey of 31,000 people in 27 countries, Edelman has found that favourable views of the tech sector globally dropped six points overall, to 70 (on a scale of 100). This has massive implications for tech companies, in a stakeholder-centric environment.

Edelman urges businesses to embrace a mandate to lead: “CEOs must lead on issues from responsible AI and automation to upskilling. Act first, talk after.” Well said Edelman.

Innovation is critical to the human race and has untold benefits, however it does need to be undertaken responsibly, and investors who own these companies have a critical role to play.

Janet Yellen Calls for a Global Minimum Tax on Companies. Could it Happen?

Gratifying to see Janet Yellen echoing our views on global tax, with the economist zeroing in particularly on the “the rise of intangible assets,” (something we wrote about in our Feb 2020 paper, Governance REbooted): “Big tech has been a big beneficiary: the five largest Silicon Valley giants paid $220bn in cash taxes over the past decade, just 16% of their cumulative pre-tax profits.”

Yellen adds: “In the push to grow our economies, we neglected our environment. As we embraced new technologies, we didn’t do enough to prepare our workers and our education systems for the changes under way. While we embraced trade as an engine for growth, we neglected those who did not benefit.”

Governments need to find sources of revenue, and corporate winners through the pandemic have largely been tech companies. When combined with their tax arbitrage over the past decade, it’s highly likely that they will be caught in the crosshairs of tax authorities.

Supreme Court Sides with Facebook in Text Message Dispute

This case underscores our view that the legal system has yet to catch up with the Digital Age. The premise for the Supreme Court’s ruling was based on wording of a law written in an Industrial Age, where companies utilised an “automatic telephone dialing system” and where such “equipment [should] not use a random or sequential number generator.”

In a Digital Age where platforms have infinite information about users (and non-users), the ‘randomness’ principle is irrelevant. The intention of the law was clearly to prevent a barrage of notifications and while the Supreme Court correctly interpreted the wording of the law, they seemed less concerned with the intention behind it. The tech behemoths have benefited time and again from laws that are not future-fit, such as this one.

Now lawmakers want to pass ‘band-aid’ legislation “to expressly prohibit Facebook’s practice.” How many short term fixes before the system becomes unwieldy and beset with loopholes? We need a Digital Age revamp of Industrial Age laws.

Facebook Data on 533 Million Users Re-emerges Online for Free

Facebook’s attitude and intransigence concerning the legal case referenced above, and now this massive leak that has resurfaced, provides some context for our first point above regarding the decrease of trust in tech.

This is one of the largest breaches in the internet’s history, yet what comes across from Facebook is a corporate shrug of the shoulder: it happened last year and we closed the loop. Not much of an apology to 533 million customers whose private information is now available to hackers, marketers and random bad actors.

One wonders what is going on in the boardroom of Facebook.

Facebook Building a Version of Instagram For Children Under 13

More news from Facebook: We suspect this headline will cause many parents serious concern, considering the general lack of trust in this platform.

If parents are already having issues with Instagram’s influence on their teenagers’ mental health, how would they feel about providing access to their younger children?

This is where trust plays a critical role in new product development, brand and stakeholder engagement, and why enduring companies put significant investment and thoughtfulness into continually promoting trust through robust governance.