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Corruption, corporate transparency and open data

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Presentation given by Chris Taggart of OpenCorporates at the Open Knowledge Festival, September 2012, on the importance of open data and corporate transparency in the fight against corruption, fraud, money laundering and organised crime

Published in: News & Politics, Business
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Corruption, corporate transparency and open data

  1. Corruption, & Open Data Corporate Transparencyhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/zomgitsbrian/4042100914
  2. We live in a highly complex,massively interconnected,corporate world
  3. Companies nolonger look like this
  4. Companies nolonger look like this
  5. Companies nolonger look like this nor even like this
  6. Butlikethis
  7. Butlikethis or like this
  8. Butlikethis or like this
  9. And they are more complexby the day
  10. And they are more complexby the dayGrowing in scale – not 10s of legal entities but 1000s
  11. And they are more complexby the dayGrowing in scale – not 10s of legal entities but 1000sGrowing in speed – we are seeing the beginnings ofhigh-frequency company formation
  12. And they are more complexby the dayGrowing in scale – not 10s of legal entities but 1000sGrowing in speed – we are seeing the beginnings ofhigh-frequency company formationGrowing in opacity – use of secrecy jurisdictions andoff-register entities to provide firewalls to tax, regulation,information
  13. And they are more complexby the dayGrowing in scale – not 10s of legal entities but 1000sGrowing in speed – we are seeing the beginnings ofhigh-frequency company formationGrowing in opacity – use of secrecy jurisdictions andoff-register entities to provide firewalls to tax, regulation,informationGrowing in complexity – not a hierarchy but a complex,sometimes even circular network of entities
  14. And they are more complexby the dayGrowing in scale – not 10s of legal entities but 1000s
  15. And they are more complexby the dayGrowing in scale – not 10s of legal entities but 1000sGrowing in speed – we are seeing the beginnings ofhigh-frequency company formation
  16. And they are more complexby the dayGrowing in scale – not 10s of legal entities but 1000sGrowing in speed – we are seeing the beginnings ofhigh-frequency company formationGrowing in opacity – use of secrecy jurisdictions andoff-register entities to provide firewalls to tax, regulation,information
  17. And they are more complexby the dayGrowing in scale – not 10s of legal entities but 1000sGrowing in speed – we are seeing the beginnings ofhigh-frequency company formationGrowing in opacity – use of secrecy jurisdictions andoff-register entities to provide firewalls to tax, regulation,informationGrowing in complexity – not a hierarchy but a complex,sometimes even circular network of entities
  18. guys... Which is great for the badhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/vincentsl/3543888150
  19. ...becausecriminalactivity isa result of http://www.flickr.com/photos/sepehrehsani/5766453552cost-benefitanalysis
  20. http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/newsroom/news_releases/archives/ 2009_news_releases/september_2009/09122009.xmlHow much can we make?
  21. Will we get caught? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Viktor_Bout_Extradited_to_US.jpg
  22. What’s the downside?http://www.flickr.com/photos/timpearcelosgatos/3558607900
  23. This mattershttp://www.flickr.com/photos/propagandatimes/5242113537
  24. Corruption This mattershttp://www.flickr.com/photos/propagandatimes/5242113537
  25. Corruption This mattershttp://www.flickr.com/photos/propagandatimes/5242113537
  26. Fraud Corruption This mattershttp://www.flickr.com/photos/propagandatimes/5242113537
  27. Fraud Corruption Money laundering This mattershttp://www.flickr.com/photos/propagandatimes/5242113537
  28. Fraud Corruption Money laundering This mattershttp://www.flickr.com/photos/propagandatimes/5242113537
  29. This matters Corruption Fraud Money laundering Organised crime http://www.flickr.com/photos/propagandatimes/5242113537
  30. “Out of 150large-scalecorruptioncases themajority usedcompanies tohide themoney trail”
  31. So what has open data got to do with it?
  32. Complexity is good (if youwant to avoid detection) http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamescridland/613445810It’s easy for the bad guysto get lost in the crowd
  33. “While bad behaviour doesfollow the shadows, there’sa huge difference betweenhuddling in corners andhaving a riot in the darkenedstreets” – John Wonderlich, Sunlight Foundation
  34. A concrete exampleAsiaUniversalBank –Kyrgystan’s largest bankNot just a small bank ina far off countryFully connected to theworld’s financial system3 US senators on theboard
  35. A concrete exampleLeaks & accusations ofinsolvency & money-laundering, following arevolutionA superb investigationby Global Witness led tocompanies in NewZealand, UK, etc...Companies withshareholders who hadbeen dead even beforethe formation
  36. The lesson (for criminals)Absent of... ...a revolution ...leaks ...a long-running investigation by a well-resourced NGOyou’re safe!
  37. We’re looking for needles ina haystack, and need opendata to reduce the problemto manageable proportions
  38. This is where the watchdogs(are supposed to) come in?
  39. This is where the watchdogs(are supposed to) come in?NGOs? Don’t get data
  40. This is where the watchdogs(are supposed to) come in?NGOs? Don’t get dataGovernment? Limited by jurisdiction and mindset
  41. This is where the watchdogs(are supposed to) come in?NGOs? Don’t get dataGovernment? Limited by jurisdiction and mindsetData journalists? Not enough of them and don’tunderstand the subject
  42. This is where the watchdogs(are supposed to) come in?NGOs? Don’t get dataGovernment? Limited by jurisdiction and mindsetData journalists? Not enough of them and don’tunderstand the subjectCitizens/good business? Don’t have the tools/resources
  43. This is where the watchdogs(are supposed to) come in? NGOs? Don’t get data Government? Limited by jurisdiction and mindset Data journalists? Not enough of them and don’t understand the subject Citizens/good business? Don’t have the tools/ resourcesAnd all have a problem getting thedata (especially in a usable form)
  44. So open data is not aloneenough
  45. So open data is not aloneenough
  46. So open data is not aloneenoughWe need skills,understanding, incentives
  47. So open data is not aloneenoughWe need skills,understanding, incentives
  48. So open data is not aloneenoughWe need skills,understanding, incentivesBut without it we are sunk
  49. We also need to make a distinction between thetransparent corporate world and the opaque one – the ‘dark corporate web’
  50. So how do the Open Government Partnershipcountries score for access to company data?
  51. So how do the Open Government Partnership FA IL!for accesscountries score to company data?
  52. 4 key measures
  53. 4 key measuresBasic search: can you search the company registerfreely, without charge and without registrationLicence: Is there a licence that allows open reuse ofthe informationData: Is the information available as open data as adata dump or an APIDepth: Is there sufficient information to get a truepicture of the company and those who control it –directors, significant shareholdings, and statutory filings
  54. The results were not good...
  55. The results were not good...
  56. OpenCorporates
  57. A simple (huge) goal: an entry (and URI) forevery corporate legal entity in the world
  58. A simple (huge) goal: an entry (and URI) forevery corporate legal entity in the world URI is based on the company register ID, meaning it’s open and IP-free
  59. A simple (huge) goal: an entry (and URI) forevery corporate legal entity in the world URI is based on the company register ID, meaning it’s open and IP-free
  60. A simple (huge) goal: an entry (and URI) forevery corporate legal entity in the world URI is based on the company register ID, meaning it’s open and IP-free
  61. A simple (huge) goal: an entry (and URI) forevery corporate legal entity in the world URI is based on the company register ID, meaning it’s open and IP-free
  62. A simple (huge) goal: an entry (and URI) for every corporate legal entity in the world URI is based on the company register ID, meaning it’s open and IP-free Also i trade mpor marks ting pofficia , gove ublic data l regis rnme ters & nt spe – gazet nding te not , ices.. .
  63. All Op enly Lfree re icens use, e ed, al ven c lowin omm g ercial ly
  64. 5 core uses
  65. 1. An open identifying system
  66. 1. An open identifying system URIs can be used as common identifiers among a variety of organisations
  67. 1. An open identifying system URIs can be used as common identifiers among a variety of organisations Can be used without reference to OpenCorporates
  68. 1. An open identifying system URIs can be used as common identifiers among a variety of organisations Can be used without reference to OpenCorporates Because they map to the id issued by the company register the corresponding entry in the registry (and associated info) can be found, and vice versa
  69. 1. An open identifying system URIs can be used as common identifiers among a variety of organisations Can be used without reference to OpenCorporates Because they map to the id issued by the company register the corresponding entry in the registry (and associated info) can be found, and vice versa Fits the new EU Business Vocabulary
  70. 1. An open identifying system URIs can be used as common identifiers among a variety of organisations Can be used without reference to OpenCorporates Because they map to the id issued by the company register the corresponding entry in the registry (and associated info) can be found, and vice versa Fits the new EU Business Vocabulary Can even by used for companies in jurisdiction we haven’t yet imported
  71. 2. The simple search
  72. 2. The simple searchNot to be underestimated
  73. 2. The simple searchNot to be underestimated
  74. 2. The simple searchNot to be underestimatedMassively reduces friction(how long will it take youto find and searchmultiple jurisdictions)
  75. 2. The simple searchNot to be underestimatedMassively reduces friction(how long will it take youto find and searchmultiple jurisdictions)
  76. 2. The simple searchNot to be underestimatedMassively reduces friction(how long will it take youto find and searchmultiple jurisdictions)Allows what if questions
  77. 2. The simple searchNot to be underestimatedMassively reduces friction(how long will it take youto find and searchmultiple jurisdictions)Allows what if questionsPotentially generatesstories in its own right
  78. 2. The simple searchNot to be underestimatedMassively reduces friction(how long will it take youto find and searchmultiple jurisdictions)Allows what if questionsPotentially generatesstories in its own right
  79. 3. Source for additional info
  80. 3. Source for additional info Addresses, filings, status, websites...
  81. 3. Source for additional info Addresses, filings, status, websites...
  82. 3. Source for additional info Addresses, filings, status, websites... Intl trademarks, UK govt spending, official notices, health & safety violations...
  83. 3. Source for additional info Addresses, filings, status, websites... Intl trademarks, UK govt spending, official notices, health & safety violations...
  84. 3. Source for additional info Addresses, filings, status, websites... Intl trademarks, UK govt spending, official notices, health & safety violations... Other IDs: SEC, CAGE, etc – allows reverse mapping queries, e.g. show me legal entitity mapped to a CIK code
  85. 4. Reconciliation(matching names to legal entities)Clean up messycompany names(& prev names)to legal entity,and from thereto other dataGoogle Refinereconciliationservice (specificto jurisdiction)
  86. 5. The platform
  87. 5. The platform API: allows all information to be retrieved as data, even searches
  88. 5. The platform API: allows all information to be retrieved as data, even searches
  89. 5. The platform API: allows all information to be retrieved as data, even searches Users can now add data too
  90. 5. The platform API: allows all information to be retrieved as data, even searches Users can now add data too
  91. 5. The platform API: allows all information to be retrieved as data, even searches Users can now add data too
  92. 5. The platform API: allows all information to be retrieved as data, even searches Users can now add data too Coming soon: the option to match data to companies
  93. 5. The platform API: allows all information to be retrieved as data, even searches Users can now add data too Coming soon: the option to match data to companies
  94. New feature: directors/officersWe’ve juststartedimporting &indexingcompanydirectors &officers,allowing searchby name, &finding linksbetween themand othercompanies
  95. New feature: directors/officersWe’ve juststartedimporting &indexingcompanydirectors &officers,allowing searchby name, &finding linksbetween themand othercompanies
  96. New feature: directors/officersWe’ve juststartedimporting &indexingcompanydirectors &officers,allowing searchby name, &finding linksbetween themand other similarly namedcompanies
  97. New feature: directors/officersWe’ve juststartedimporting &indexingcompanydirectors &officers,allowing searchby name, & other resourcesfinding linksbetween themand other similarly namedcompanies
  98. New feature: shareholdingsFirst stage inmapping outcorporate‘hierarchies’A highlycomplexsubject and onenot wellunderstoodeven by manyregulators
  99. New feature: shareholdingsFirst stage inmapping outcorporate‘hierarchies’A highlycomplexsubject and onenot wellunderstood shareholderseven by manyregulators
  100. tions isdic tes 0 jur nies in 5 26 US sta compa clud ing 5million In wov er 4No

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