Companies that have a tech policy are often accused of being secretive, but a new survey from the Technology Industry Leaders Association (TILA) reveals that nearly three quarters of the top 100 tech companies have one.
That’s a shame, according to TILA president and CEO Brian Cook.
“There’s a culture of secrecy at the top of the industry,” he told Business Insider.
“It’s not that companies aren’t open.
There are plenty of ways to communicate and have a great conversation.
But if you say you’re open, they’re going be more open. “
People are concerned that if you’re not open, you’re going to lose customers.
But if you say you’re open, they’re going be more open.
That creates a lot of friction.”
One of the most significant companies that have embraced transparency is Amazon.
The online retailer has launched a series of transparency reports, including a survey last month that revealed that it is the biggest company to not have a policy.
The report found that while more than a third of Amazon’s staff have signed up for the site’s “Get Involved” program, only 4% of staff have actually used the site to speak up.
Amazon’s policy, however, does require the company to share all its internal data, as well as employee and customer data.
In order to be considered for inclusion, a company must meet several requirements.
The company must have a data security program that prevents hackers from accessing data and employees must agree to abide by strict policies and privacy rules.
“Our policies are a reflection of our core values of being transparent, making our data and information available, and being open to the world,” said Amazon spokesperson John Sommers in an email.
“While we have a transparency program in place, we do not publish all our internal data.”
The report also found that Amazon’s transparency program only covers “internal information” that is shared with third-party companies.
The survey also found the company has not shared its own data with the federal government, meaning that the data is not publicly available to the public.
That lack of public transparency has put many tech companies on the defensive.
“We’re often told that the tech community is the most transparent community,” said Sommes.
“But the reality is that we have to deal with it.”
In addition to having a policy, companies must also comply with privacy laws.
In the case of Amazon, Sommer said it’s “very important” that the company disclose all information it holds about its employees and customers, including their personal information, their emails and social media accounts, which are shared with the government.
However, the company also doesn’t disclose data about third parties, which may violate privacy laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
While Amazon has a policy to share personal information about its customers, Sompers said it does not share the data of third parties.
“You don’t know who’s talking to you,” he said.
“Amazon is not a company that should be doing business with the U.S. government.”
And, the companies policy doesn’t apply to other companies, such a Apple, which would be in violation of federal law.
Amazon also hasn’t released any data about its own customers or employees.
The policy only applies to Amazon employees, not to employees of other companies.
“Apple’s policies are very much focused on what’s important to them,” Sompes said.
But it’s important that the government knows about the companies privacy practices, Soms said.
As for Apple’s policy of not sharing customer data with law enforcement, Somes said the company should be disclosing that information.
“The way they are going to go about doing it is they’re not going to disclose it,” he added.
“If Apple was doing it that way, it would be very bad for the company.
If it was transparent, it’d be good for the companies.”
“I think Apple has been very clear about what they’re doing and how they’re complying with privacy rules,” said David Shepardson, CEO of the consumer advocacy group Free Press.
“And that’s really good news.”
“When you have policies that say, ‘We won’t tell the government, but we won’t make your data public,'” Somm said, “that’s a pretty big risk.”
TILA, which represents about 800 tech companies, will host a conference later this month that will highlight the latest data from the industry.
For the full report, check out TILA’s website.
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