Showing posts with label ICANN. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ICANN. Show all posts

Thursday, August 1, 2019

The Internet Governance Forum by Sachin Meier, Impact Investing Intern, Georgetown University.

Last Thursday, the Internet Governance Forum was held at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Sponsors included Facebook, Amazon, Comcast, the Charles Koch Institute, and ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). The conference covered many topics – from blockchain, AI, and 5G to monopoly power and antitrust, privacy, and consumer protection.

Commissioner Christine Wilson of the Federal Trade Commission discussed the myriad problems surrounding Facebook and its "reckless" behavior with respect to user privacy, data collection and targeting. She took a strong stance on the need to directly regulate Facebook and “put a speed bump in front of Mr. Zuckerberg”. She was keen on controlling Zuckerberg’s power within his own company by dictating the composition of Facebook's Board of Directors and regulating other executive powers Zuckerberg holds within the company. She also suggested a more general, industry-wide reform of social media company consumer protection regulations.

Another panel discussed issues rising from new technologies, like Deepfakes and corporate surveillance, which have adversely affected consumers and about which the current laws provide little guidance. Very few of the most important questions were answered, in part because no one currently has the answers. One of the panelists left with the hope that either newer technology, social norms, or governmental regulation will control the malicious use of technology and allow us to find a stable equilibrium for society.

After a break, a panel of lawyers and regulators convened to discuss antitrust regulation and the future of Big Tech. This panel was generally in favor of using antitrust legislation as leverage in order to coerce compliance with rules and to encourage companies not to push their luck with extralegal actions. They discussed targeting Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple. The panel noted that, as network effects and economies of scale are the driving force behind these monopolies, breaking them up would not solve the problem, merely destroy a relatively efficient market.

Another issue concerned “the right to be forgotten”. This concept has been seized upon in Europe but remains unacceptable in America. A few panelists pitched the idea.

Despite the pressing nature of many of these issues, and the proclaimed necessity of legislation to fix the problems, many of the speakers and panelists agreed that other, better-publicized issues would continue to have Congressional attention. It is up to the private sector, state and local governments, and society to find solutions to the risks increasingly powerful technology presents.

(Edited by William Michael Cunningham).

Sunday, March 24, 2019

We are one of the premier firms in understanding and analyzing Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) trends

We are one of the premier firms in understanding and analyzing Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and impact investing trends.

Our work has focused on long-term changes that will affect and influence the economy, financial system, society and environment at large:
  • We developed the first targeted Mortgage-backed Security (MBS) investment CRA securitization, an MBS pool backed by loans from minority financial institutions. We designed and created the investment in 1992. (See: )
  • On June 15, 2000, we testified before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSE’s) of the US Congress. We suggested that the GSE’s (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) be subject to a thorough “Social Audit.” A Social Audit is an examination of the performance of an enterprise relative to certain social objectives. It also includes a review of ethical practices at the firm. Had they been subject to this audit, certain flaws in their operation which led to their failure, including ethical shortcomings, would have been revealed earlier.
  • Mr. Cunningham is an unaffiliated member of NARALO, the North American Regional At-Large Organization of ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.
  • We stated, on February 5, 2015, in testimony to the Norwegian Ministry of Finance ( ) and on April 22, 2015 in testimony to the Government of the United Kingdom: “As the market value of environmental, social and governance factors continues to grow, companies and investment managers will engage in fraudulent practices related to these factors. These practices will range from simple falsification of environmental, social and governance records to more sophisticated, but no less fraudulent methods related to environmental, social and governance ratings.” On September 22, 2015 automaker Volkswagen admitted that “’defeat devices’ used to cheat emissions testing were installed in 11 million vehicles worldwide.
  • On December 26, 2016, we determined that: "Under any conceivable scenario, the (election result) is very bad, and we mean toxic, for democratic institutions in general and for people of color specifically. Bottom line: our Fully Adjusted Return Forecast** indicates that, over time, things will get much, much worse....." See:
  • We tied ESG to the competitive position of the U.S. capital markets. As we noted on Oct. 5, 2006, foreshadowing the rise of cryptocurrencies: "competitive advantage with respect to capital access is available to any country with significant economic potential and a modest telecommunications infrastructure."
In addition, federal appeals and lower courts have accepted several “Amicus Curiae” or “Friend of the Court” briefs we filed in signal cases concerning financial marketplace structure and fraud cases: