PDF Rules for Information Technology Leaders

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Because they want to use the service urgently, they may accept the terms and conditions without reading them. Even if they do read the terms, the legal language is not clear or relatable to the average person.

But when things go wrong, it is areas such as this that come back to haunt leaders. Give careful thought to helping your customers understand what they are signing up for. Most importantly, use simple and relatable language. Every technology company needs to do this.

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If you are a multinational company, employees should be made to understand the multiple cultural contexts and associated sensitivities. In a rapidly changing technology world, employees need to be extra sensitive to ethical concerns arising in different ways, whether culturally, legally, or simply through perceptions. Multinational companies can leverage their diverse workforce to create peer groups for developing an ethics framework. This could then be used to educate employees in multiple geographies and business contexts.

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Companies that have a homogenous workforce but are working with clients in other countries, or companies whose products and services are used by customers across geographies, should take this aspect seriously in order to avoid problems at a later date. In this new operating context, leaders need to think about how their products and services will affect individuals, organizations and even societies. Being ethical by design is important. This means anticipating in advance the values and ethics of how your products and services will be leveraged by different stakeholder groups.

Many of these cannot be predicted in advance, arguably, but certain actions, taken early enough, can mitigate their impact. During the design stage, it is also important to involve diverse stakeholder groups who may not be direct beneficiaries of your products and services, but who may be able to expand your horizon and offer a perspective you might not previously have encountered.

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Companies often leverage lead users to understand how their products can be used in different ways. Now, they also need to leverage diverse stakeholder groups to understand how their product or service can potentially be misused or abused. The days when legal teams were a support function is over.

Legal teams are becoming an integral function of every technology organization. When the driver of a ride-hailing service misbehaves with a passenger, or when a resident near Heathrow airport flies a drone near the runway, or when trolls abuse a social media platform, the relevant companies must respond immediately, with appropriate language and action.

Europe could soon pass new digital copyright laws. And, as our briefing explains, the EU is pioneering a distinct tech doctrine that aims to give individuals control over their own information and the profits from it, and to prise open tech firms to competition.

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If the doctrine works, it could benefit millions of users, boost the economy and constrain tech giants that have gathered immense power without a commensurate sense of responsibility. Western regulators have had showdowns over antitrust with tech firms before, including IBM in the s and Microsoft in the s. As AI takes off, demand for information is exploding, making data a new and valuable resource.

Yet vital questions remain: who controls the data? How should the profits be distributed?

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The idea of the EU taking the lead on these questions will seem bizarre to many executives who view it as an entrepreneurial wasteland and the spiritual home of bureaucracy. In fact, Europe has clout and new ideas. The big five tech giants, Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft, make on average a quarter of their sales there.

It has also rejected break-ups: thanks to network effects, one of the Facebabies or Googlettes might simply become dominant again. The first leads to the assertion that you have sovereignty over data about you: you should have the right to access them, amend them and determine who can use them.

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  • Here are 5 rules every responsible tech leader should follow!
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The next step is to allow interoperability between services, so that users can easily switch between providers, shifting to firms that offer better financial terms or treat customers more ethically. Imagine if you could move all your friends and posts to Acebook, a firm with higher privacy standards than Facebook and which gave you a cut of its advertising revenues.

One model is a scheme in Britain called Open Banking, which lets bank customers share their data on their spending habits, regular payments and so on with other providers. That means equal treatment for rivals who use their platforms. The EU has blocked Google from competing unfairly with shopping sites that appear in its search results or with rival browsers that use its Android operating system. A German proposal says that a dominant firm must share bulk, anonymised data with competitors, so that the economy can function properly instead of being ruled by a few data-hoarding giants.