DIGintegrity: A governments’ toolkit to disrupt corruption through data-based technologies


Blog by Camilo Cetina: “The Lava Jato corruption scandal exposed a number of Brazilian government officers in 2016, including the then president of the Brazilian Chamber of Representatives, and further investigations have implicated other organisations in a way that reveals a worrying phenomenon worldwide: corruption is mutating into complex forms of organized crime.

For corruption networks to thrive and predate public funds, they need to capture government officers. Furthermore, the progressive digitalization of economies and telecommunications increases the potential of corruption networks to operate transnationally, which makes it easier to identify new cooperation mechanisms (for example, mobilizing illicit cash through a church) and accumulate huge profits thanks to transnational operations. This simultaneously increases their ability to reorganize and hide among huge amounts of data underlying the digital platforms used to mobilize money around the world.

However, at the same time, data-based technologies can significantly contribute as a response to the challenges revealed by recent corruption cases such as Lava Jato, Odebrecht, the Panama Papers or the Pandora Papers. The new report DIGIntegrity, the executive summary of which was recently published by CAF — Development Bank of Latin America, highlights how anti-corruption policies can become more effective when they target specific datasets which then are reused through digital platforms to prevent, detect and investigate corruption networks.

The report explains how the growing digitalization accompanied by the globalization of the economy is having a twofold effect on governments’ integrity agendas. On the one hand, globalization and technology provide unprecedented opportunities for corruption to grow, thus facilitating the concealment of illicit flows of money, and hindering jurisdictional capacities for detection and punishment. But, on the other hand, systemic improvements in governance and collective action are being achieved thanks to new technologies that help provide automated services and make public management processes more visible through open data and increasingly public records. There are “integrity dividends” derived from the growing digitization of governments and the increasingly intensive use of data intelligence to prevent corruption….(More)”.