Top Stories

April 09, 2018

Corporate Reputation

Child protection groups allege that YouTube illegally collects data on children

A coalition of 23 child advocacy, consumer and privacy groups have filed a complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission alleging that Google is violating child protection laws by collecting personal data of and advertising to those aged under 13. The group alleges that despite Google claiming that YouTube is only for those aged 13 and above, it knows that children under that age use the site. The group states that Google collects personal information on children under 13 such as location, device identifiers and phone numbers and tracks them across different websites and services without first gaining parental consent as required by the US Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. A YouTube spokesperson said: “While we haven’t received the complaint, protecting kids and families has always been a top priority for us. We will read the complaint thoroughly and evaluate if there are things we can do to improve…” (Guardian)


BP document says an oil spill would be a “welcomed boost” to local economies

An oil spill in the Great Australian Bight would provide a “welcomed boost” to local economies, according to a 2016 document by BP that has been released under Freedom of Information laws. The statements, such as “in most instances, the increased activity associated with clean up operations will be a welcome boost to [local] economies”, were made in an environment plan drawn up during BP’s bid to drill in the region and were submitted to the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority. A BP spokesperson has said, following the release of the document, that these statements “did not reflect BP’s views” with many aspects needing to have been better thought through and articulated. BP had already withdrawn plans to drill in the region, but Norwegian oil and gas company Statoil has taken over the leases and it plans to drill an exploratory well in October 2019. (ABC Australia)


HSBC to utilise AI to help spot money laundering

HSBC is bringing in robots to help it spot money laundering, fraud and terrorist funding, as the latest bank to harness artificial intelligence to tackle financial crime more quickly and cheaply than with armies of compliance staff. Europe’s biggest bank is planning to integrate the AI software of Quantexa, a UK-based start-up, to screen the vast amounts of data it holds on customers and their transactions against publicly available data, in the search for suspicious activity. HSBC has invested billions of pounds to improve its compliance controls after a $1.9 billion settlement in 2012 to avoid criminal charges for allegedly laundering at least $881 million for Mexican drug barons and breaching US sanctions on countries including Iran and Sudan. Their move to partner with AI specialists has also been taken by other large banks with the Royal Bank of Scotland partnering with Vocalink to scan small business transactions for fake invoices and attempted fraud. (Financial Times*)


China joins Hong Kong – US battle for Chinese tech listings

In a move to compete with New York the Hong Kong Exchange announced plans in 2017 to help the next wave of Chinese tech giants to go public in the city, offering tech founders the weighted voting rights that are common in the US. They, however, are now facing competition from China itself with China’s securities regulator announcing its own pilot scheme to encourage the same group of companies to list in Shanghai and Shenzhen. Beijing is also targeting companies including Baidu, Alibaba Group, and by allowing them to list at home via secondary listings – business that has also been high on Hong Kong’s agenda. At the heart of the three-way tussle lies an estimated $500 billion worth of Chinese tech firms expected to seek listings in the coming years – representing the biggest potential pool of IPO fees in the world outside the US tech sector. For China, the hope is to see more of its tech companies list at home, where domestic investors can benefit from any success. (Reuters)


WWF, UN & WiLD Studios launch marketing project to generate consumer action on sustainability

WWF, the United Nations and WiLD Studios have teamed up to launch Project Extraordinary, a global initiative to enlist the world’s top marketers and agencies to generate consumer awareness and action around sustainability. With the aim to reach 1 billion people by 2020, the project wants to inspire brands to make sustainability so desirable that global consumers will prioritise it as a key purchasing decision. To do so Project Extraordinary is inviting the world’s best creative agencies to develop short-form video concepts and storyboards, by 12th April 2018, with the winning films to be made by WiLD and screened by WWF at the Cannes International Festival of Advertising and at various UN forums. The entries will be judged by a jury of 24 experts including representatives from Google, Mars, Unilever and WWF. (The Drum)


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Image Source: At the computer by Lars Plougmann on Flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0.