Going Beyond Open Data to Address Public Integrity and Fight Corruption

Corruption is the root of global threats, as it causes underdevelopment and damages the environment, it also nourishes public distrust and political extremism. Every year, 2 trillion dollars is paid in bribes. Over 2.6 trillion dollars representing around 3% of the world GDP are siphoned. Corruption does not only affect the least developed and developing countries prone to poverty. It also affects the developed world, as recently revealed in the Panama Papers. While economic factors are important drivers for corruption, integrity of public officials and decision makers could play a buffer to the embezzlement of public funds.

Open data and transparency have the potential to promote public integrity. The French High Authority for Transparency in Public Life (HATVP), which is responsible for auditing the assets of public officials, preventing conflicts of interests and counseling public officials on ethical principles in France, has published a Contribution on Open Data and Public Integrity (link is external) in the context of the OGP Summit and the International Anti-Corruption Day. By highlighting examples of how open data leads to greater transparency and public accountability, the study concludes that open data can be a powerful tool in combating corruption, as a complement to effective institutional supervision.

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