Corruption has a devastating impact on the lives of people around the world. When money that should be spent on schools, hospitals, and other government services ends up in the hands of dishonest officials, everyone suffers. This briefing explains how open data can be used to tackle corruption and accompanies the launch of Open Up Guide: Using Open Data to Combat Corruption.
Many of the activities of a corruption network, and many of the individuals and organizations involved, leave their mark on government-held datasets. Paradoxically, corruption schemes frequently rely upon the law to secure ownership of companies, land, and assets used to launder their proceeds. Public contracts, spending, and other transactions are all recorded in government ledgers. And existing policies may call for asset disclosures and interest registers to be maintained. If all this information remains in silos, identifying, tracking and confronting corruption networks remains a laborious task.
That’s where open data can step in. Open data is information that data anyone can access, use and share. It should be made available with the technical and legal characteristics necessary for it to be freely used, reused, and redistributed by anyone, anytime, anywhere. Publishing government information in this way has the potential to allow government officials, journalists and citizens to follow financial flows, understand who’s providing government services and to spot suspect behavior. There is political momentum behind this and in 2015, the G20 agreed a common approach for how to use open data to combat corruption.
This airtable collects which the 30 core datasets, standards and use cases that have been identified as part of this first iteration.