When is It Right to Cut Off Social Media and Telecoms?

Many years ago, before I ever knew what CSR was, I had a task to identify phone numbers in another country that were being used to carry pornographic services.  Bear with me on this!

Due to a peculiarity of the payment system for international calls at that time, a small foreign nation stood to gain a lot of money from such calls. By chance, the particular combination of international access code and country dialing code looked, to the uninitiated, like a London phone number. Cards with these numbers on them were being distributed to teenage boys in the UK, outside the gates …

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London Riots: The Good and Bad of ICT

This week I am working from London.  Although all has been peaceful on the streets I’ve been walking,  I am reading about all the violence and looting that is occurring. It seems the rioters used various social media networks to identify where to hit next.

Apparently Blackberries are a favorite for rioters because of their relatively private messaging capability. But on the positive side, clean-up crews are also utilizing social media tools to communicate and mobilize with the hashtag #riotcleanup. The corresponding website is here.   As always, IT based media can be used for good and bad.

According to this

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Questioning my own motives

I am little the wiser listening to the conflicting analyses of the nuclear power station situation in Japan’s earthquake zone. One expert commentator leaves me feeling chilled to the bone that we were on the edge of a tragedy. Another commentator explains how this is nothing even close to a Chernobyl situation and we should be reassured by the successful layers of backup that have enabled us to stay well clear of a disaster  in the face of an earthquake followed by a tsunami.

Which to believe?

Like climate change, I cannot be an expert in these deeply complex …

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Ethical Dilemma #2: Half-baked Marketing – A Justice vs. Mercy Dilemma

As part of our series on ethics, originally published on the CROA blog, here is the second of five ethical dilemmas to test your ethical muscles and the CROA’s draft Ethics Code.  After you read the scenario and deliberate on the choices, check out the Ethics Code and then let us know how it helped guide your decision.  Share how you’d answer this dilemma and how the Ethics Code helped (or didn’t).

John is the CSO at Smith & Co, a toaster-oven manufacturer. Smith & Co retained Evans Strategic On-Line Marketing and pays it to improve Smith & …

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Guest Post: A Gaggle of Privacy Concerns -When Truth Conflicts with Loyalty

Originally posted on the CROA blog.

By Richard Crespin


As Kevin Moss mentioned in his earlier post, the CROA’s Professional Development Committee drafted an ethics code and came up with a set of ethical dilemmas to test it.  In this post we layout the overall concept of ethical dilemmas and propose the first dilemma for you — our field testers — to consider.

Ethical Dilemmas:  Four Classics

In his book, How Good People Make Tough Choices, Rushworth Kidder defined an ethical dilemma as a right vs. right choice.  Morals or laws govern right vs. wrong.  We use ethics …

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Ethics Trumps Sustainability

I posted a blog in January “sustainability is over-rated” in which I posited that sustainability was just one of the principles against which Corporate Responsibility can be judged and practiced. A number of people commented that we should focus on action and not worry too much about terminology. Call me obsessed, but I cannot let it go at that. I believe more and more that ethics underpins sustainability and that we must be able to speak to ethics to be able to resolve some of the most challenging sustainability issues we will face in the future.

The broadly accepted principle …

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Who decides what is acceptable?

A few days ago an employee within Citi cut off the internet business account of a customer, Fabulis. The Citi employee determined Fabulis breached Citi rules for what internet business accounts Citi is prepared to support.

In fact it was a mistake. The employee made what seems to be a serious misjudgment that the Fabulis website contained pornography. The site didn’t contain pornography and didn’t breach Citi’s standards (although perhaps the content did breach the individual’s personal standards regarding sexual orientation) and the account has been reinstated.

Lots of interesting issues, but from a corporate responsibility perspective I am most

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Regaining Public Trust

The public’s trust in corporations is low and we all want to do something about it. I would like to suggest two connected issues that are worth attention. Truthfulness in communications and how we resolve some of our differences.

Truthfulness in our communications; don’t confuse the telling of true facts with truthfulness.

The December 4th edition of Politico carried an advocacy ad from the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity addressing the importance of coal to power, jobs and a healthy economy. But power, jobs and a healthy economy are not the primary issues in question. The primary issue

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Should we pay our interns?

I was listening to an interesting piece on the radio a few weeks back about internships on NPR. The piece talked about the importance of getting an internship for students hoping to get into good jobs after college. Not surprisingly, the more sought after the job field, the more competition there is for internships. And it is increasingly common that companies don’t pay interns. Of course, it can take quite an investment of time to get someone acclimated, linked-up and trained-up and then they go back to school just as they are performing effectively. And there are plenty of potential …

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Dilemmas in Corporate Responsibility – Privacy and Safety

In my mind, the most challenging issues for corporate responsibility officers involve conflicts between different CR priorities. In the ICT sector the tensions between privacy, freedom of speech and online safety is one of those issues.

Balancing these priorities can present real ethical dilemmas. Here are just a few of the dilemmas in this space that have been enhanced by the internet;

  • How much privacy do you allow individuals on line – a battered woman seeking help needs to remain anonymous but what about an adult trying to engage in predatory online chats with children?
  • In my eyes a private
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