We use media and technology for nearly every area of daily life — from connecting with loved ones and applying for a job to shopping and banking. Now more than ever, privacy is critical to our personal safety and security.
The “Internet of Things” has also arrived — an era where our data is increasingly collected and shared not only by and between our computer devices and cell phones, but also appliances, vehicles, buildings, credit cards, and objects that are set up to collect and track our every move and choice. Often, everyday consumers are aware of neither how their private information is used or collected, nor the risks.
These digital technologies have created extraordinary business opportunities for many companies; they may also present serious risks to privacy and data security.
Open MIC presses corporate management to disclose how, why, when and where they are gathering, sharing, selling, storing, or monitoring consumer data in any form, while also working with investors to identify and encourage best industry practices for consumer privacy.
In 2013, for example, in response to a shareholder proposal, Apple Inc. amended its Board’s Audit and Finance Committee charter to include responsibility for privacy and data security risks that confront the company. Audit committees play a critical role in the financial reporting system by overseeing and monitoring management's and independent auditors' participation in the financial reporting process.
And in 2015, Equifax, one of the nation’s leading credit agencies, acting in response to a shareholder proposal, agreed to amend the charter of its corporate Audit Committee to require that the committee “at least once a year, review and discuss with management the Company’s policies with respect to risk assessment and risk management, including, without limitation…the implications of the Company’s internal use of its data sets on consumers’ civil rights and the potential impact of such issues on the Company’s business, operations and management. The Committee will direct management to take appropriate steps to monitor and mitigate such exposures and policy concerns."