Inkerman Insights on Global Business Threat and Vulnerability

Social Media Checks – Protecting Your Brand

Social Media Checks – Protecting Your Brand

Social media in recent years has become an increasingly popular and prominent form of communication between businesses, individuals and even governments. They are extremely useful platforms for some in terms of contacting long lost friends or distant family, disseminating news across the world and promoting a brand, among other uses. However, these platforms also present issues for companies and individuals as a result of the successful and far-reaching nature of the likes of Facebook and Twitter – these being reputational, financial and security risks. Hence, there is a necessity to incorporate social media content into the background screening process.

However, conducting such searches and basing employment on social media content can be somewhat sensitive and many high profile legal cases have proven that dismissal based on social media activity can be found to be both justified and unjustified. For example, an employee of Halfords plc, Mr Stephens was dismissed after he created a Facebook page criticising his employer. After having an appeal against his dismissal refused by Halfords, the case was taken to court and Mr Stephens’ dismissal was found to be unjustified and a disproportionate action and was awarded £11,350 in compensation. On the other hand, in a case involved Apple Retail (UK), an employee, Mr Crisp, was dismissed for posting potentially brand damaging content on to his social media profiles. This dismissal was deemed fair and justified during a trial due to the impact that Crisp’s posts could have had on Apple Retail (UK) which was further supported by Apple’s own policies.

In both instances, legal cases such as this can result in high cost to both parties and can potentially cause more reputational damage to a business than the initial post on social media should a dismissal be deemed unfair, hence the need for social media screening and policies.

From evidence of drug use to gun wielders, and swathes of other interesting activities in between, all types of questionable material have been found through the use of such checks by The Inkerman Group’s screening team, which all could have proven highly damaging to a client’s reputation had they not been identified.

The Inkerman Group understands the need for social media research to be conducted with transparency and common sense, running checks that are reasonable and proportionate to the employment role applied for.  Only ‘open source’ information on a particular candidate is identified and at no point are candidates engaged via social media to entice them to reveal information they may not have done previously. This method helps identify the information that is publicly available and therefore material that could pose a risk to a company or individual.

Furthermore, The Inkerman Group only reports on predetermined ‘red flags’ which are key areas that may pose a risk to our clients. The use of this method ensures that the employment decision maker is separated from the research process; allowing an informed decision, based on information relevant only to the recruiter, can be made, whilst protecting both the rights of the candidate and the reputation of the employer simultaneously.

For more information: www.inkermanscreening.com

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The Afghan Success Story (Or Lack Thereof)

The Afghan Success Story (Or Lack Thereof)

 I recently read an article (in Forbes, no less) entitled “Five Signs Afghanistan is Becoming an American Success Story”, written by Loren Thompson. It argued that while Afghanistan has been a hard place to stabilise, the steadfastness shown by the US (and to a lesser extent its coalition partners) has provided numerous signs that they have “succeeded in making Afghanistan a more peaceful, progressive place”. Thompson pointed out several of these signs, including the good performance of its military/police forces and its hugely improved economy. He continues this rose-tinted view by stating that the trends in country are favourable, and that if only the US can deliver on its remaining funding commitments then they can “keep Afghanistan in the win column”. I began wondering fairly early on in this article whether Thompson was observing the same Afghanistan as I was; does it perhaps have a more amiable doppelganger of which I am unaware?  If this was an isolated incident I would undoubtedly have paid little attention, possibly muttering to myself but nonetheless moving on with my life. However, this has been just one of a number of recent occasions in which I have read accounts of the ‘Afghan success story’ that seem at odds with the reality.

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SOUTHERN COPPER’S TIA MARIA MINE PROJECT IN PERU: A “TICKING BOMB”

SOUTHERN COPPER’S TIA MARIA MINE PROJECT IN PERU: A “TICKING BOMB”

A protest that began in 2009, very localised against the Southern Copper Tia Maria project in Islay, in the Arequipa region, has now spread to most of the region along with all the other neighbouring southern provinces. The protest that had a clear environmentalist focus against the mining project has now turned political including a heavy criticism of the state and presidential managing of the crisis, amidst a continuing deteriorating approval rate for Peruvian President Ollanta Humala.

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WILL THERE BE A RESURGENCE OF INDONESIAN TERRORISM?

WILL THERE BE A RESURGENCE OF INDONESIAN TERRORISM?

Indonesia is commonly viewed as a counter-terrorist success story, and it is hard to argue against the view that the government’s policies designed to contain the threat posed by extremist groups have yielded tangible results. Although sporadic, low-level incidents have persisted, Indonesia has been untouched by mass-casualty Islamist terror since two Western hotels in Jakarta – the JW Marriott and the Ritz-Carlton – were targeted by suicide bombers in 2009. In recent years, the Indonesia authorities have ruthlessly and efficiently cracked down on hard-line groups, and the country’s jihadist movement has become weakened and fragmented as a result. However, the continuation of this trend is by no means assured. Many of the underlying grievances that helped fuel the rise of religious radicalism in Indonesia in recent decades remain potent, and the very victories posted by the government against terrorist networks have made those that remain more difficult to detect and destroy. Further, there are growing concerns that the rise of the Islamic State (IS) could rejuvenate militancy in the country, particularly after growing numbers of Indonesian nationals currently fighting with the group in Syria and Iraq return to their homeland.

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THE NEW DRIFT TOWARDS ECONOMIC PRAGMATISM IN CORREA’S GOVERNMENT

THE NEW DRIFT TOWARDS ECONOMIC PRAGMATISM IN CORREA’S GOVERNMENT

Amidst an economic downturn the Ecuadorian Government held a meeting with union leaders and businessmen and other fifteen authorities including ministers, superintendents and directors of the national productive sector on 02 March 2015. The delegation of private enterprises was constituted by union leaders of the National Federation of Chambers of Industry of Ecuador, the Ecuadorian Business Committee and the Alliance for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. The meeting centred around five axis proposed by the private sector focusing on strengthening private investment as a driver of economic growth, moving away from the monopoly of state intervention in Correa’s national project. This meeting is politically very important, as there had not been direct dialogue between the private sector and the president for over two years and a half. The meeting culminated with the compromise of the president and vice president to elaborate a private-public plan containing short-term goals for 2020 in a clear step towards public-private cooperation.

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IMPLICATIONS OF RECENT NIGERIAN ELECTIONS FOR POLITICAL / SECURITY AND BUSINESS OUTLOOK

IMPLICATIONS OF RECENT NIGERIAN ELECTIONS FOR POLITICAL / SECURITY AND BUSINESS OUTLOOK

A Historic Election

Opposition candidate and former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari was announced as the winner of Nigeria’s presidential elections on 31 March 2015. Buhari’s victory marks a historic moment for the country, as he is now the first non-incumbent candidate to win an election since Nigeria gained its independence. The recent presidential elections also represent the first time that the opposition has seized power from the ruling party through a democratic process. Buhari’s victory was also notable given the regions that voted in his favour. While it is unsurprising he won all the northern states, given his large support base in this area, Buhari also gained significant ground in southern and central Nigeria – regions often supportive of incumbent candidate and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) member Goodluck Jonathan.

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EGYPTIAN AIRSTRIKES IN LIBYA: CALLS FOR INTERNATIONAL INTERVENTION GROW

EGYPTIAN AIRSTRIKES IN LIBYA: CALLS FOR INTERNATIONAL INTERVENTION GROW

On 15 February 2015, a video was released on jihadist websites purporting to show the beheading of twenty-one Egyptian Coptic Christians, kidnapped from Sirte by suspected Islamic State (IS) militants in December 2014 and January 2015. In the video, hooded men dressed in black marched the hostages, who were wearing orange jump suits, to a beach the militants claimed was in the “Governorate of Tripoli”. The victims were then forced to their knees and beheaded. The video, which also featured an English-speaking jihadist, is notably anti-Christian in nature. One of the video’s captions read, “The people of the cross, followers of the hostile Egyptian church,” while another asserted that, “Safety for you crusaders is something you can only wish for”.

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Kidnap on a global scale, are you prepared?

Kidnap on a global scale, are you prepared?

 

The threat of kidnapping is one of the most prevalent concerns faced by employers and individuals operating in high-risk areas. While the possibility of abduction is ultimately a global one, certain countries and regions present a much higher risk, particularly for foreign nationals. These areas tend to be those which have been hit by conflict and / or militant activity, but there are also areas in which kidnapping for ransom has developed into a hugely profitable business, and security forces have been unable to effectively tackle the industry.

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STRANGE BEDFELLOWS: ARE AL QAEDA THE REAL WINNERS OF YEMEN’S COUP?

STRANGE BEDFELLOWS: ARE AL QAEDA THE REAL WINNERS OF YEMEN’S COUP?

The political and security situation in Yemen – never the most stable of states – has spiralled out of control in recent months, sending shockwaves worldwide. A resurgent popular secessionist movement wracks the south, armed tribal groups are engaged in a campaign of sabotage and unrest in the east, and Sunni militant organisations run rampant across much of the country. However, all eyes are currently on events in the capital, where a Shi’ite rebel group, the Houthis, have seized power in what many domestic and international actors described as a coup d’état. The rise of the Houthis is causing considerable concern in the West, not only because of their close ties to Iran, but because the wider conflict and instability likely to follow will be of particular benefit to the region’s most active al Qaeda affiliate.

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“HEALING THE BELIEVERS’ CHESTS”: THE TWIN PURPOSES OF THE ISLAMIC STATE’S NEW VIDEO

“HEALING THE BELIEVERS’ CHESTS”: THE TWIN PURPOSES OF THE ISLAMIC STATE’S NEW VIDEO

On 03 February 2015, a video appeared on the Internet which purports to show the murder of Muath al Kasasbeh. The Jordanian pilot had been held hostage by the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group since his aircraft went down over Syria in December 2014. The IS offered to refrain from harming him if a prisoner exchange was held with Jordan, but the deadline passed on 29 January 2015, without this taking place. This proposed swap seems to have been a deception, as according to Jordanian state media al Kasasbeh was probably killed as early as 03 January 2015, suggesting that this film has been in the works for some time. Indeed, the IS is known for the high level of post-production it applies to its videos, but this latest example is particularly stylised. Healing the Believers’ Chests has evidently gone through a lengthy and laborious editing process. Its producers, in other words, intended for this video to convey an important message. The IS seems to have had two direct purposes for releasing this film.

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REPRESSION, SUPPRESSION AND MARGINALISATION: WAS THE GROZNY ATTACK INEVITABLE?

REPRESSION, SUPPRESSION AND MARGINALISATION: WAS THE GROZNY ATTACK INEVITABLE?

Although regional attention has of late been focused elsewhere, particularly on the ongoing insurgency in eastern Ukraine, Russia’s longstanding conflict within its own borders was again highlighted recently, when a group of Islamist militants launched a major attack in the Chechen capital of Grozny in December 2014. Despite the high number of casualties, the incident prompted “little more than a flicker of international interest” compared to shootings at the Charlie Hedbo offices in Paris and the subsequent hostage dramas. However, the attack was the most serious Islamist insurgent event in the Chechnya in recent memory. It has stoked fears that there could be a potential return to the high levels of violence seen in Chechnya in years past, particularly as ever-more radicalised North Caucasian Islamists return to their homelands from fighting with groups like the Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq.

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CHARLIE HEBDO SUSPECTS SURROUNDED IN PICARDY WAREHOUSE AFTER TAKING HOSTAGES CLOSE TO N2 AND CHARLES DE GAULE AIRPORT

CHARLIE HEBDO SUSPECTS SURROUNDED IN PICARDY WAREHOUSE AFTER TAKING HOSTAGES CLOSE TO N2 AND CHARLES DE GAULE AIRPORT

This blog post focuses on the breaking hostage situation on 09 January 2015, linked to the aftermath of Charlie Hebdo terror attack on 07 January 2015, the worst in France in fifty years. It illustrates a snapshot of just one of today’s reported incidents pertaining to Kidnap and Ransom (K&R) risk globally. This is reported each weekday by The Inkerman Group’s Corporate Intelligence cell. Kidnap is an incredibly complex issue, with a host of factors contributing to the likelihood of incidents, from corruption, to the strength of state institutions, to economic conditions to sectarian or tribal allegiances. In order to aid companies in wading through the plethora of information which must be assimilated when establishing the risk to personnel, The Inkerman Group provides daily and monthly kidnap reports written by our expert analysts and informed by the experience of our in country teams and kidnap responders. For further information about our niche kidnap threat mitigation and trend services reporting please contact alice.boyes@inkerman.com.

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