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Integrity - use of values or principles to guide action in the situation at hand.

Below are links and discussion related to the values of freedom, hope, trust, privacy, responsibility, safety, and well-being, within business and government situations arising in the areas of security, privacy, technology, corporate governance, sustainability, and CSR.

Ethics Sites for Government, 27.4.04

Higher Ethical Conduct,

Prime Minister of Canada

New Guide for Ministers and Ministers of State

The Prime Minister has also distributed to his Cabinet Ministers an updated handbook entitled Governing Responsibly: A Guide for Ministers and Ministers of State, which provides his personal directions on democratic reform and integrity. The Guide outlines the anticipated relationship between Ministers and Parliamentarians as a result of the democratic reform initiative, and describes the new role of Parliamentary Secretaries. New elements in the Guide include:

  • key elements of the democratic reform initiative, including greater freedom for Private Members to voice their views and those of their constituents through an increased number of free votes on government legislation, and a reinforced role of House Committees in shaping legislation through more frequent referral to committees of government legislation prior to second reading; and
  • a new policy requiring mandatory quarterly publication of travel and hospitality expenses of Ministers, Ministers of State, Ministers?D offices, and Parliamentary Secretaries. This policy will also apply to Deputy Ministers.

    PMO Press Office: (613) 957-5555

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  • Investor activism adds spark to meetings, 25.4.04

    Chicago Tribune

    More resolutions, withheld votes

    With corporate annual meeting season moving into full swing, investor unrest is coming to a head.

    A record number of shareholder resolutions have been lodged, with a new emphasis on directors deemed to have committed various sins.

    Shareholder activism has burgeoned in recent years, particularly after the downfall of Enron Corp. and its brethren made corporate malfeasance part of the national discourse.

    Much of the response has come through shareholder resolutions, typically advisory votes that have managed to prompt change on social and corporate governance issues.

    This year, institutional investors also are stressing the usually symbolic withheld votes from directors--a single vote almost always elects them, after all--but now withheld votes could have serious implications.

    That's because under a plan awaiting a vote by federal regulators, a withheld total of 35 percent of the votes at a company would allow investors to nominate candidates to run in contested elections at the next annual meeting.

    The movement was energized last month when investors banded together to withhold 43 percent of the vote from Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Officer Michael Eisner, prompting the board to oust him as chairman.


    [CLB: Does this sort of brute-force change change the results in a significant way? Yes and no. Yes, investors have found a way to evoke a coordinated change in the governance of companies. No, investors may become a "banana republic dictator" as any other dominant voting group. Will the pendulem simply swing away from profit (rather harmfully), and too far towards social responsibility? The problem is the continuum they're still on. It's not long term sustainable either.

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    e-drexler.com, 22.4.04

    nanotechnology - secure computing

    This site focuses on the science behind emerging technologies of broad importance, summarizing research results and offering technical perspectives on research directions. It includes tutorial material, new results, annotated bibliographies and links to external web resources. Initial topics include nanotechnology-based production systems (central to the future of physical technology), and secure, distributed computing (central to the future of informational technology). In both these areas, several widespread assumptions are very wrong. A better understanding can benefit both technical leaders seeking productive directions for research and development, and policy makers aiming to make wise decisions.

    [CLB: Watch for metamodern.com ]

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    The battle for business integrity,

    bCentral - Business is at war

    Here are some strategies for the small business owner to:

  • identify and purge corrupt business practices
  • rebuild people's faith in the integrity that the vast majority of businesses abide by every day

  • Acknowledge that the public needs a shot of trust. Step one in rekindling the public's faith in business is recognizing that it's needed. It would be hard to imagine a time — short of, perhaps, the decimation from the Great Depression — where people's opinion of business was any darker. "Every survey I've seen lately shows that the public is actively looking for that kind of trust and confidence," says Tom Egelhoff, owner of Small Town Marketing.com. "That, and when people are asked what they value most about business, they always put trust ahead of everything else."
  • Ask for opinions. Rather than waiting for problems to appear, show your eagerness to engender confidence. If you're in retail, work up a survey and encourage customers to point out problems and suggestions. If yours is a more service-oriented operation, make face-to-face feedback a priority: "Take your 10 best customers out to dinner and ask them if they have any concerns at all," says Egelhoff. "If you build that sort of trust and confidence upfront, it's much easier to put fires out later. Try to make it easy for your customers to complain when they think it's necessary."
  • Pursue lost business. Customers and clients come and go from businesses of all sorts. Needless to say, it's impossible to know the reason for every bit of turnover but, if you lose a key client, take the time to contact that person and ask why. Not only do you come across as a businessperson of integrity who genuinely wants to know what went wrong, but you'll likely get valuable feedback. And — who knows? — you may be able to win them back.
  • Check your print. Building customer confidence by spoken word and action is critical, but even the most forthright business can be undermined by misleading — or worse — dishonest print material. Review every bit of advertising, brochures and other documents to make certain they're persuasive without being the least bit deceptive.
  • Stay involved. Poor Kenny Lay (the former Enron CEO) was too busy refurbishing all those mountain condos to hear what the poor chump at the pump had to say. Well, you're not that insular, nor should you be. Try to involve your business in the community on any number of levels, not merely commercial. "My rule is, if there are more than 50 butts in a room, I'm there," says Egelhoff. "Look into joining the Chamber of Commerce, the United Way and other groups. That way, people see you just not in the business realm; it shows that you care about what's going on."
  • Involve everyone. Equally important to building public faith is recruiting your employees into the effort. Talk with them about the damage corporate dishonesty has done and how critical it is to take a team approach to piecing public trust back together. "An owner can only do so much. Involve your employees and let them know that people are looking more critically at business than ever before," says Egelhoff.
  • Check your books. The era of the business owner taking a hands-off approach to accounting and record keeping has likely gone the way of eight-track tapes. If, by chance, you just hand your material off to a bookkeeper or accountant and hope for the best, break the habit now. Review your financial statements, tax returns and other money materials in detail to make certain that all the numbers are accurate and up-to-date. That further reinforces the role of a businessperson intent on an honest profit (not to mention involving you firsthand in a central barometer of your business' health and growth).
  • A name is no game. One final tip to rebuild the public's faith in business is simple, yet no less powerful. Whenever possible, call your clients and customers by name. Use whatever system or strategy that works most effectively for you, but devise some way to remember as many names as you can. Not merely polite, but a reminder of the close ties that small businesses of all sorts have with the people and the community around them — close ties that can only foster integrity and confidence. "Calling people by their names sets them apart and makes them feel special," says Egelhoff. "It's so simple and easy, but also refreshing. And that can make people feel as though they owe it to you to say something when they think something is wrong."

    [CLB: Simple starting points to staying in tune with your business, it's practices, and polishing your successful good reputation in business.]

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  • Your Planetary Protection Officer - What on Earth does he do?,


    Protecting our environment

    Protecting our environment

    PPO John D. Rummel, an astrobiologist and a commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve, has two primary tasks: to ensure that outbound spacecraft aren't contaminated with biological material from Earth (forward contamination), and to protect the Earth from lifeforms that might be contained within samples retrieved from space (back contamination). These concerns trace back to the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Bodies. This 1967 international agreement mandated that signatories avoid "harmful contamination" when surveying the cosmos. That meant not only protecting the Earth from extraterrestrial microbes that could cause disease, but also protecting other planets and cosmic objects from organisms native to our world.


  • Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Bodies.
  • Planetary Protection Office
  • Methods
  • Draft Protocol

    NASA doesn't want to take any chances with the future of the human race. [CLB: Risk mitigation for a planetary protection protocol and incident response challenges my imagination.]

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  • Spyware the latest hi-tech plague, 21.4.04


    'If you keep trying to aim at the technology rather than the privacy issue, you're going to keep coming up with new issues to deal with every two years,' Schwartz said.

    [CLB: Correct. Protecting privacy and human rights generally is the foundation upon which systemic, timely action aganist malicious or annoying technologies can be taken. Organizations mandate this through sound policy, and nations legislatively.]

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    Assigning corporate culpability, 18.4.04

    About Business

    Investors blame boards and CEOs for failing to improve performance, according to a survey of large fund managers published recently by McKinsey Quarterly.

    Several shareholder initiatives are challenging traditional board practices. For example, Mark Sirower reports in The Wall Street Journal that in 2003, 48 shareholder proposals were voted on with the goal of eliminating staggered boards.

    Board membership terms are staggered in 60 percent of the Standard & Poor's 500 companies. The ostensible reason is to provide continuity to board leadership. Critics argue that staggered terms protect entrenched boards and prevent wholesale removal of an ineffective board.

    In March, the Securities and Exchange Commission also heard arguments in favor of augmenting shareholder influence in selecting board members. The proposal would enable shareholder groups to place board candidates on the ballot under certain conditions to run against the company's proposed slate of directors. Business groups are waging a campaign against the SEC's plan for corporate proxy ballots, arguing that this might expose boards to the influence of narrow interest groups.

    Board members do concede that their boards are still not models of governance or accountability. According to a survey of 150 U.S. corporate directors reported in McKinsey, they view directors' lack of motivation and limited time commitment to board activities as the most significant impediment to improving board performance. Over 75 percent of the respondents also see the Sarbanes-Oxley Act as incapable of driving board improvements.

    Board members also point fingers at the CEOs of companies they direct, claiming that CEOs resist change and prefer non-independent board members. A source of director frustration is that CEOs and insiders set the agenda for board meetings and constrain discussions.

    The most visible disagreement between CEOs and many boards and investors concerns the dual role of chairman and CEO. CEOs want it combined, and most investors and directors want to split it according to the McKinsey survey.

    Comparison with other countries makes the case that the CEO/chairman structure is a matter of tradition, not strategic necessity. In Germany, the Netherlands and South Africa, all boards have split roles, and in the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada, the vast majority of companies have separated the functions and it works perfectly well. In the United States, the reverse is true, with only 20 percent of boards splitting the two roles and an additional 50 percent opting for a lead director to provide some counterbalance to CEO power.

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    Ernst & Young suspended from new business for 6 months

    Ernst & Young has been barred from accepting new corporate audit clients for six months for failing to maintain its independence from a company whose books it audited.

    The administrative law judge at the Securities and Exchange Commission also ordered the nation's third-largest accounting firm to pay $1.7 million in restitution, plus interest. The action on Friday was the first time the SEC had sought the suspension of a major accounting firm since 1975.

    New York-based Ernst & Young said it did not plan to appeal the ruling, though it had previously argued its conduct was appropriate and met professional standards.

    The SEC said the firm violated rules designed to keep accountants independent from the companies they audit when it engaged in a business deal with software maker PeopleSoft Inc.

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    How many spyware apps are you running?

    Industry experts suggest that these types of programs may infect up to 90 percent of all Internet-connected computers. Typically, spyware arrives bundled with freeware or shareware, through email or instant message, or by someone with access to a user’s computer.

    What is spyware and why should Internet users be concerned?
    • Adware is advertising-supported software that displays pop-up advertisements whenever the program is running. Often the software is available online for free, and the advertisements create revenue for the company. Although it's seemingly harmless (aside from the intrusiveness and annoyance of pop-up ads), adware can install components onto your computer that track personal information (including your age, sex, location, buying preferences, or surfing habits) for marketing purposes.
    Some advertising-supported software will not inform you when it installs adware on your system, or will bury such notification in small print. In many cases, the software that is financially supported by adware will cease to function without the adware component. Sometimes adware will infiltrate your computer even when you decline the installation.
    • Adware cookies are pieces of software that Web sites store on your hard drive when you visit a site. Some cookies exist just to save you time-for example, when you check a box for a Web site to remember your password on your computer. But some sites now deposit adware cookies, which store personal information (like your surfing habits, usernames and passwords, and areas of interest) and share the information with other Web sites. This sharing of information allows marketing firms to create a user profile based on your personal information and sell it to other firms.
    Adware cookies are installed and accessed without your knowledge or consent.
    • System monitors can capture virtually everything you do on your computer, from keystrokes, emails, and chat room dialogue to which sites you visit and which programs you run. System monitors usually run in the background so that you don't know you're being watched. The information gathered by the system monitor is stored on your computer in an encrypted log file for later retrieval. Some programs can even email the log files to other locations.
    There has been a recent wave of system monitoring tools disguised as email attachments or free software products.
    • Trojan horses are malicious programs that appear as harmless or desirable applications. Trojan horses are designed to steal or encode computer data, and to destroy your system. Some Trojan horses, called RATs (Remote Administration Tools), give attackers unrestricted access to your computer whenever you're online. The attacker can perform activities like file transfers, adding or deleting files and programs, and controlling your mouse and keyboard.
    Trojan horses are distributed as email attachments, or they can be bundled with other software programs.

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    Secure identity in the Big Bad World, 14.4.04


    Identity is such a difficult concept to grasp, particularly for our political leaders. They seek the magic device that will correctly distinguish "terrorist" from "tourist" or "refugee" from "freeloader." Unfortunately, what they're seeking is some measure of trust - "can I trust the motives of this person?"

    So, here"s my first pop-quiz. What do identity and trust have in common? The answer - not very much.


    Most identities are defined in terms of the perceptions of others: for instance, we might buy the newspaper every morning at a kiosk before boarding the train to work. The vendor knows us by sight and says 'hello' every morning. That is an identity; it is self-contained and complete within the bounds of the interaction. Similarly, our 'family' identity is most strongly defined in terms of the perceptions of those around us. You might also consider the driver's licence as a self-contained identity.

    Interestingly, although both are valid descriptions of 'you,' there is minimal overlap between the kiosk 'you' and the family 'you,' unless perhaps your spouse accompanies you to the city one day; and none at all between kiosk and drivers licence (apart from the photo on your licence).

    The great thing about identity is that we have so many of them to choose from - not for any 'nefarious' purpose, but we intentionally partition ourselves into multiple 'people.' The 'David Heath' at work is quite distinct from the David Heath at home, for instance. At a simpler level, the identity we use when we visit some website that requires authentication has very little in common with anything truthful about us. But it is still an identity of ours.


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    X Prize challenger, 9.4.04

    U.S. approves first private, manned rocket
    "WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government has issued the first license for a manned suborbital rocket, a step toward opening commercial space flight for private individuals for the first time."

    The Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday gave a one-year license to Scaled Composites of Mojave, California, headed by Burt Rutan.


    "I strongly feel that, if we are successful, our program will mark the beginning of a renaissance for manned space flight," he wrote. "This might even be similar to that wonderful time period between 1908 and 1912 when the world went from a total of ten airplane pilots to hundreds of airplane types and thousands of pilots in 39 countries. We need affordable space travel to inspire our youth."

    [CLB: I'll join you up there soon! Thank you, Burt.]

    The license is a prerequisite for the X Prize competition, an international space race that will give $10 million to the first company or person to launch a manned craft to 62.5 miles above the Earth, and then do it again within two weeks. The craft must be able to carry three people.

    The FAA is considering two other applications, Price said. One is an X Prize contestant.

    Twenty-seven contestants from seven countries have registered for the X Prize competition.

    The prize, announced in 1996, is sponsored by the privately funded X Prize Foundation in St. Louis. Supporters include Dennis Tito, the American who spent $20 million to fly in a Russian craft as the first space tourist; pilot Erik Lindbergh, the grandson of Charles Lindbergh; former astronaut and U.S. Senator John Glenn; and actor Tom Hanks.

    Before launching the spacecraft in the X Prize competition, Scaled Composites must give the prize sponsors 90 days notice, Price said. The company can launch its rocket before that, he said, but it must be in an area that isn't risky.

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    Putting 40,000 Readers, One by One, on a Cover, 6.4.04

    Putting 40,000 Readers, One by One, on a Cover

    When the 40,000 subscribers to Reason, the monthly libertarian magazine, receive a copy of the June issue, they will see on the cover a satellite photo of a neighborhood - their own neighborhood. And their house will be graphically circled.

    On one level, the project, sort of the ultimate in customized publishing, is unsurprising: of course a magazine knows where its subscribers live. But it is still a remarkable demonstration of the growing number of ways databases can be harnessed. Apart from the cover image, several advertisements are customized to reflect the recipient's particulars.


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    "ethics" and "integrity",

    PCBE: January 17, 2002 (Session 4)

    Robert P. George, J.D, D.Phil. bio:

    "But even more fundamentally I think that a sound ethics, and it is a perennially debated question I grant you, is not one that makes the consideration of the consequences just by themselves decisive. Rather it is one that looks at the principles that we hold securely and then asks with respect to any new choice whether there is a compromising of those principles or whether there is a compatibility with those principles. "

    [CLB: Integrity is the balancing of these two types of consideration to effect enduring and wise choices.]

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    PCBE: Human Cloning and Human Dignity: An Ethical Inquiry -- Full Report,

    PCBE: Human Cloning and Human Dignity: An Ethical Inquiry -- Full Report: "The President's Council on Bioethics

    Washington, D.C.

    October 2003


    Biotechnology and the Pursuit of Happiness: An Introduction

    What is biotechnology for? Why is it developed, used, and esteemed? Toward what ends is it taking us? To raise such questions will very likely strike the reader as strange, for the answers seem so obvious: to feed the hungry, to cure the sick, to relieve the suffering &emdash; in a word, to improve the lot of humankind, or, in the memorable words of Francis Bacon, "to relieve man's estate." Stated in such general terms, the obvious answers are of course correct. But they do not tell the whole story, and, when carefully considered, they give rise to some challenging questions, questions that compel us to ask in earnest not only, "What is biotechnology for?" but also, "What should it be for?"

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    The Altered Human Is Already Here,

    The New York Times - Essay



    Last year retail drug sales worldwide were $317 billion. In the United States alone, consumers spent $163 billion on drugs. In North America, the use of drugs that affect the central nervous system, antidepressants and others, increased 17 percent. No group has escaped. Last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 10 million children took prescription medication for three months or longer in 2002, and preschoolers, another study found, are now the fastest growing group of children receiving antidepressants.

    This is a social change on the same order as the advent of computers, but one that is taking place inside the human body. Just 50 years ago, according to a report by IMS Health, a company that tracks the pharmaceutical industry, the two biggest-selling over-the-counter drugs were Bufferin and Geritol. The prescription drug business was tiny. In 1954, according to IMS, Johnson & Johnson had $204 million in revenue. Now it is about $36 billion. In 1954, Merck took in $1.5 million in drug sales; in 2002, that figure was $52 billion.

    To look at it in another way, Americans take so many drugs that some researchers — Dr. Christian G. Daughton of the Environmental Protection Agency's National Exposure Research Laboratory in Las Vegas, for example — are worried about the effects on the environment. What does it mean if the sewers run rich with Zoloft? Or to be more precise, what might happen to fish eggs if the rivers soak up waste water with discarded and excreted pharmaceuticals and personal care products, like shampoo?

    No one has the answer yet, but the idea that what runs through our collective bloodstream is a potential environmental hazard makes you look at your medicine cabinet in a different way.

    In short, while the Six Million Dollar Man is still a fantasy, Pharmaceutical Man is already here, and largely unnoticed. Swallowing a pill at a business lunch is likely to elicit little curiosity. A high-powered executive who did not have blood pressure or cholesterol problems might be suspect. There are concerns about the widespread use of antidepressants, but they do not seem to have affected sales.


    Whether or not the growing use of drugs has altered our essential humanity, there is now almost no bodily system that cannot be adjusted by them. Blood, respiration, the nervous system, hormonal regulation, muscles and bones, the cardiovascular system, reproduction, sexuality — drugs are available to nudge them all in one direction or the other. It is not unusual for someone to begin the day with a cocktail of antidepressants, statins and blood pressure medications.

    The result does not yet seem to be the epidemic of dull, well-managed emotionless humanity that some forecasters have worried about. For instance, among professionals in journalism and publishing in the New York metropolitan area, who no doubt take as much Zoloft per capita as anyone on the planet, it is no small trick to find someone who is either calm or happy.

    Perhaps in the future, stronger drugs will produce the well-sedated zombies that will make the streets of Times Square disturbingly docile and well mannered, but it has not happened yet.


    Even the dystopian fantasies of cyborgs and the overmedicated are fundamentally different. Drugs are an easy way to contentment and the absence of pain — even if they are ultimately unsatisfying. Hardware is something else. It enhances the senses, increases strength, adds weapons. As a cyborg, you can be your own telescope, your own computer, your own gun.

    It may not be so bad that the pharmaceutical human is arriving first.

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    Turning online privacy into a joke, 3.4.04

    Perspectives | CNET News.com


    Why is it that some large corporations seem so out of tune with the deep-seated concerns of some of their audience? The legalistic approach that some adopt when crafting their online privacy policy is both unfriendly and counterproductive. It serves only to foment anger and distrust while simultaneously perpetuating the 'us and them' culture so graphically exhibited by the major corporate scandals of recent years.

    Nonexistent, inaccessible or confusing declarations about how a company will treat the personal data of an individual is demonstrative of an uncaring attitude and is highly disrespectful of the customer the company purports to serve.

    Consider the following: When asked to prioritize the reasons why they chose to abandon a Web site, one in every six respondents indicated that they were not happy with the company's privacy policy or the transparency of its business practices. The survey constituents were not the 'loony left,' or a collection of disenfranchised liberal students hoping to watch capitalism crumble.

    These are the professional, clerical, technical and administrative employees who work hard and keep business moving. The good news is that many companies are now putting the customer at the center of their online presence design, getting the balance right and reaping the rewards.


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    Charity challenge to `rich guys', 1.4.04

    Donor says Canada's wealthy `aren't doing enough'

    Seymour Schulich: "'I'm trying to alter the culture of giving in Canada. Just imagine how great the effect would be on society if we had two-and-a-half times more money from benefactors,' said Schulich, who called health care and business the two engines of society."

    [CLB: I agree. Thank you, Mr. Schulich. Although the figures are not record setting, Integrity Incorporated donated funds to graduate student scholarships this year at my Alma Mater, York University. I strongly encourage you to get involved in support of an educational institution you respect, through guest lectures on your passions and successes, through donations, through volunterring your time. Consider visiting that old campus this year!]

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    Integrity Incorporated

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    "We shall need compromises in the days ahead, to be sure. But these will be, or should be, compromises of issues, not principles. We can compromise our political positions, but not ourselves. We can resolve the clash of interests without conceding our ideals. And even the necessity for the right kind of compromise does not eliminate the need for those idealists and reformers who keep our compromises moving ahead, who prevent all political situations from meeting the description supplied by Shaw: "smirched with compromise, rotted with opportunism, mildewed by expedience, stretched out of shape with wirepulling and putrefied with permeation.
    Compromise need not mean cowardice. .."

    John Fitzgerald Kennedy, "Profiles in Courage"


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