Corporate transparency, Corruption & Open Data
Money launderers, corrupt politicians, terrorists, arms traffickers, drug dealers, people traffickers, tax evaders – all these people need to be able to move money around the world, and rely on two things to be able to do so: banks willing to take their business, and companies that allow them to hide their identity. Global Witness is already campaigning to prevent banks dealing in dirty money. We have recently started to work to address the second issue: the lack of public information about who controls and owns companies.
In this talk, we’ll outline what we see to be the problem, and what we’re doing to lobby for change. We were interested to come along to OKFest because it seems that the traditional NGO community that works on transparency issues has a lot in common with the open data community. Working together, we could be stronger. This presentation will detail how poor access to even the most basic company data — such as whether a company exists — is enabling corruption, money laundering and fraud to flourish, and how OpenCorporates is working with NGOs and others to fix the problem.
Open Corporates Since it launched 18 months ago, and with the help of the open data community, OpenCorporates has grown to by far the largest open database of companies in the world, with over 40 million companies in 50+ jurisdictions. It’s now working with governments and intergovernmental bodies, from the World Bank to the Financial Stability Board, to improve access to company data, and improve corporate transparency. It’s also being routinely used by journalists, anti-corruption investigators and others.
Global Witness is a campaigning organisation, based in London and Washington DC. We work to stop natural resources being used to fund conflict and corruption and are probably best-known for our work on conflict diamonds, for which we were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. From Cambodia to Congo, Sierra Leone to Angola, we have exposed the brutality and injustice that results from the fight to access and control natural resource wealth, and have sought to bring the perpetrators of this corruption and conflict to book.
Chris Taggart is the co-founder of OpenCorporates, the largest openly licensed database of companies in the world. OpenCorporates has a simple (but huge) goal: an entry for every corporate legal entity in the world. It already has over 40 million companies in 50 jurisdictions despite having been launched just 18 months ago, and is working with governments and intergovernmental bodies to increase corporate transparency. A former magazine journalist, he has been working full-time in the field of open data for the past 3 years.
Rosie works for Global Witness (www.globalwitness.org) as part of their banks and corruption team, which campaigns to stop banks taking money from the corrupt. By doing this, banks are part of a system that deprives countries of resources that could be used for development. Our report from 2009 Undue Diligence launched our campaigning on this: http://www.globalwitness.org/library/undue-diligence-how-banks-do-business-corrupt-regimes. Rosie has previously worked for Global Witness on Sudan and oil, and Cambodia and illegal logging. Before working at Global Witness, she worked as a scientist.
Location: 8th Floor Auditorium
Date & Time: Weds 11:30-1300
Target Group: Those interested in active use of open data
Topic Stream: Transparency and Accountability
Session Etherpad page: http://okfestival.okfnpad.org/corporate-transparency-corruption-open-data