At Yoti, one of our core principles that guides our development is to ‘Be transparent and accountable’. Trust in technology companies appears to be on the decline, most likely because of data misappropriation and a lack of transparency.
As a tech company that interacts with personal user data, integrity is paramount in everything we do. Our business cannot function without being trustworthy, so we’ve put measures in place to make sure we are always adhering to our principles and ethical framework.
This is why we’ve integrated several initiatives into our operations to make sure we never stray from our core principles, one of these being the creation of our Guardian Council.
The Council currently has three seats and will eventually have 8-10. They hold quarterly meetings and ad hoc communications when specific issues arise. Their role is to hold the business to account, which they do by having an ex-officio position on Yoti board meetings, ensuring a direct link between Yoti’s governance and the Guardian Council.
Our guardians are expected to be vocal and proactive if any mistakes are made by the company, to ensure these mistakes are quickly identified and corrected. The bulk of these interactions take place at the Guardian Council quarterly meetings where minutes are taken and uploaded to our website for everyone to read.
The Council itself is designed to be one of our key independent stakeholders and the selection process facilitates this. New members of the Council are first nominated by existing guardians, then confirmed by a Yoti community vote.
They must have expertise in a given field and a demonstrated track record of promoting social enterprise or development. Guardians are also selected on the basis of being completely transparent about their profession and personal achievements, so there is full disclosure on who they are and what kinds of contributions they have made.
One of the issues the guardians have discussed is adapting Yoti for humanitarian purposes, and how Yoti should approach the Principles for Identification for Sustainable Development led by the World Bank.
Yoti was involved in this initiative which aimed to help people around the world prove who they are so they could participate more actively in society and utilise various services. Public endorsement and adherence to these principles was discussed by the board. You can see the board minutes here.
The Council also ensures we are following the B Corp charter. As a certified B Corp, we are part of a global initiative to redefine the traditional indicators of corporate success and use the power of business to make a positive impact on the world.
The council has helped us to create a fully transparent system of accountability. It has been effective in its work which ensures Yoti operates with moral and ethical integrity.
Renata Avila: Renata started her career in the legal domain, representing victims of genocide in Guatemala. She then moved into research, policy advocacy and public speaking on issues of surveillance, open internet principles and transparency.
Doc Searls: As one of the first people to recognise the transformative nature of the internet, Doc has been active in the tech and digital space for more than three decades. Doc also holds teaching positions and leads research projects at Harvard University and the University of California Santa Barbara.
Gavin Starks: Gavin is a serial entrepreneur who has over 20 years of experience creating data-driven businesses. He founded Dgen, which specialises in creating federated partnership programmes to facilitate positive social, environmental and economic impacts on businesses.