Innovations In The Fight Against Corruption In Latin America

Blog Post by Beth Noveck:  “…The Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) has published an important, practical and prescriptive report with recommendations for every sector of society from government to individuals on innovative and effective approaches to combatting corruption. While focused on Latin America, the report’s proposals, especially those on the application of new technology in the fight against corruption, are relevant around the world….

IADB Anti-Corruption Report

The recommendations about the use of new technologies, including big data, blockchain and collective intelligence, are drawn from an effort undertaken last year by the Governance Lab at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering to crowdsource such solutions and advice on how to implement them from a hundred global experts. (See the Smarter Crowdsourcing against Corruption report here.)…

Big data, when published as open data, namely in a form that can be re-used without legal or technical restriction and in a machine-readable format that computers can analyze, is another tool in the fight against corruption. With machine readable, big and open data, those outside of government can pinpoint and measure irregularities in government contracting, as Instituto Observ is doing in Brazil.

Opening up judicial data, such as information about case processing times, judges’ and prosecutors’ salaries, information about selection processes, such as CV’s, professional and academic backgrounds, and written and oral exam scores provides activists and reformers with the tools to fight judicial corruption. The Civil Association for Equality and Justice (ACIJ) (a non-profit advocacy group) in Argentina uses such open justice data in its Concursos Transparentes (Transparent Contests) to fight judicial corruption. Jusbrasil is a private open justice company also using open data to reform the courts in Brazil….(More)”

Making NHS data work for everyone

Reform: This report looks at the access and use of NHS data by private sector companies for research or product and service development purposes….

The private sector is an important partner to the NHS and plays a crucial role in the development of healthcare technologies that use data collected by hospitals or GP practices. It provides the skills and know-how to develop data-driven tools which can be used to improve patient care. However, this is not a one-sided exchange as the NHS makes the data available to build these tools and offers medical expertise to make sense of the data. This is known as the “value exchange”. Our research uncovered that there is a lack of clarity over what a fair value exchange looks like. This lack of clarity in conjunction with the lack of national guidance on the types of partnerships that could be developed has led to a patchwork on the ground….

Knowing what the “value exchange” is between patients, the NHS and industry allows for a more informed conversation about what constitutes a fair partnership when there is access to data to create a product or service


  1. Engage with the public
  2. A national strategy
  3. Access to good quality data
  4. Commercial and legal skills…(More)

G20/OECD Compendium of good practices on the use of open data for Anti-corruption

OECD: “This compendium of good practices was prepared by the OECD at the request of the G20 Anti-corruption Working Group (ACWG), to raise awareness of the benefits of open data policies and initiatives in: 

  • fighting corruption,
  • increasing public sector transparency and integrity,
  • fostering economic development and social innovation.

This compendium provides an overview of initiatives for the publication and re-use of open data to fight corruption across OECD and G20 countries and underscores the impact that a digital transformation of the public sector can deliver in terms of better governance across policy areas.  The practices illustrate the use of open data as a way of fighting corruption and show how open data principles can be translated into concrete initiatives.

The publication is divided into three sections:

Section 1 discusses the benefits of open data for greater public sector transparency and performance, national competitiveness and social engagement, and how these initiatives contribute to greater public trust in government.

Section 2 highlights the preconditions necessary across different policy areas related to anti-corruption (e.g. open government, public procurement) to sustain the implementation of an “Open by default” approach that could help government move from a perspective that focuses on increasing access to public sector information to one that enhances the publication of open government data for re-use and value co-creation. 

Section 3 presents the results of the OECD survey administered across OECD and G20 countries, good practices on the publishing and reusing of open data for anti-corruption in G20 countries, and lessons learned from the definition and implementation of these initiatives. This chapter also discusses the implications for broader national matters such as freedom of press, and the involvement of key actors of the open data ecosystem (e.g. journalists and civil society organisations) as key partners in open data re-use for anti-corruption…(More)”.

Data Flow in the Smart City: Open Data Versus the Commons

Chapter by Richard Beckwith, John Sherry and David Prendergast in The Hackable City: “Much of the recent excitement around data, especially ‘Big Data,’ focuses on the potential commercial or economic value of data. How that data will affect people isn’t much discussed. People know that smart cities will deploy Internet-based monitoring and that flows of the collected data promise to produce new values. Less considered is that smart cities will be sites of new forms of citizen action—enabled by an ‘economy’ of data that will lead to new methods of collectivization, accountability, and control which, themselves, can provide both positive and negative values to the citizenry. Therefore, smart city design needs to consider not just measurement and publication of data but also the implications of city-wide deployment, data openness, and the possibility of unintended consequences if data leave the city….(More)”.

Open Government Data for Inclusive Development

Chapter by F. van Schalkwyk and M,  Cañares in  “Making Open Development Inclusive”, MIT Press by Matthew L. Smith and Ruhiya Kris Seward (Eds):  “This chapter examines the relationship between open government data and social inclusion. Twenty-eight open data initiatives from the Global South are analyzed to find out how and in what contexts the publication of open government data tend to result in the inclusion of habitually marginalized communities in governance processes such that they may lead better lives.

The relationship between open government data and social inclusion is examined by presenting an analysis of the outcomes of open data projects. This analysis is based on a constellation of factors that were identified as having a bearing on open data initiatives with respect to inclusion. The findings indicate that open data can contribute to an increase in access and participation— both components of inclusion. In these cases, this particular finding indicates that a more open, participatory approach to governance practice is taking root. However, the findings also show that access and participation approaches to open government data have, in the cases studied here, not successfully disrupted the concentration of power in political and other networks, and this has placed limits on open data’s contribution to a more inclusive society.

The chapter starts by presenting a theoretical framework for the analysis of the relationship between open data and inclusion. The framework sets out the complex relationship between social actors, information and power in the network society. This is critical, we suggest, in developing a realistic analysis of the contexts in which open data activates its potential for
transformation. The chapter then articulates the research question and presents the methodology used to operationalize those questions. The findings and discussion section that follows examines the factors affecting the relationship between open data and inclusion, and how these factors
are observed to play out across several open data initiatives in different contexts. The chapter ends with concluding remarks and an attempt to synthesize the insights that emerged in the preceding sections….(More)”.

Advancing Open Data for Open Governance in Asia

Paper by Michael P. Cañares: “The record of countries in the region in terms of transparency and accountability is dismal. In the latest Corruption Perceptions Index released by Transparency International, more than half of the country in the region scored below 50, with at least a quarter of these are countries considered with systemic corruption problems. Nevertheless, there have been significant attempts of several countries to install transparency measures and project a commitment towards greater openness. At least a dozen of countries has right to information laws that provide citizens’ fundamental access to government information and several have installed open data policies and are implementing e-government programs or practices. But access of citizens to data and information to hold governments to account, demand for better services, and strengthen citizen participation in governance remain elusive.

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a multilateral initiative that aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. OGP’s vision is that more governments become more transparent, more accountable, and more responsive to their own citizens, with the goal of improving the quality of governance, as well as the quality of services that citizens receive. Since its inception in 2011, OGP today brings together 75 countries and 15 subnational governments with over 2,500 commitments to make their governments more open and accountable. In Asia, only the governments of Indonesia, the Philippines, and South Korea are participating countries along with two subnational pilots, Seoul and Bojonegoro. These governments have launched initiatives to involve citizens in the planning and budgeting processes, proactively disclose budget and other public financial information, and engage citizens in monitoring of public service delivery. But these countries remain the exception rather than the norm….(More)”.

What difference does data make? Data management and social change

Paper by Morgan E. Currie and Joan M. Donovan: “The purpose of this paper is to expand on emergent data activism literature to draw distinctions between different types of data management practices undertaken by groups of data activists.

The authors offer three case studies that illuminate the data management strategies of these groups. Each group discussed in the case studies is devoted to representing a contentious political issue through data, but their data management practices differ in meaningful ways. The project Making Sense produces their own data on pollution in Kosovo. Fatal Encounters collects “missing data” on police homicides in the USA. The Environmental Data Governance Initiative hopes to keep vulnerable US data on climate change and environmental injustices in the public domain.

In analysing our three case studies, the authors surface how temporal dimensions, geographic scale and sociotechnical politics influence their differing data management strategies….(More)”.

All Data Are Local: Thinking Critically in a Data-Driven Society

Book by  Yanni Alexander Loukissas: “In our data-driven society, it is too easy to assume the transparency of data. Instead, Yanni Loukissas argues in All Data Are Local, we should approach data sets with an awareness that data are created by humans and their dutiful machines, at a time, in a place, with the instruments at hand, for audiences that are conditioned to receive them. All data are local. The term data set implies something discrete, complete, and portable, but it is none of those things. Examining a series of data sources important for understanding the state of public life in the United States—Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum, the Digital Public Library of America, UCLA’s Television News Archive, and the real estate marketplace Zillow—Loukissas shows us how to analyze data settings rather than data sets.

Loukissas sets out six principles: all data are local; data have complex attachments to place; data are collected from heterogeneous sources; data and algorithms are inextricably entangled; interfaces recontextualize data; and data are indexes to local knowledge. He then provides a set of practical guidelines to follow. To make his argument, Loukissas employs a combination of qualitative research on data cultures and exploratory data visualizations. Rebutting the “myth of digital universalism,” Loukissas reminds us of the meaning-making power of the local….(More)”.

These patients are sharing their data to improve healthcare standards

Article by John McKenna: “We’ve all heard about donating blood, but how about donating data?

Chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes, heart disease and epilepsy are predicted by the World Health Organization to account for 57% of all disease by 2020.

Heart disease and stroke are the world’s biggest killers.

This has led some experts to call NCDs the “greatest challenge to global health”.

Could data provide the answer?

Today over 600,000 patients from around the world share data on more than 2,800 chronic diseases to improve research and treatment of their conditions.

People who join the PatientsLikeMe online community share information on everything from their medication and treatment plans to their emotional struggles.

Many of the participants say that it is hugely beneficial just to know there is someone else out there going through similar experiences.

But through its use of data, the platform also has the potential for far more wide-ranging benefits to help improve the quality of life for patients with chronic conditions.

Give data, get data

PatientsLikeMe is one of a swathe of emerging data platforms in the healthcare sector helping provide a range of tech solutions to health problems, including speeding up the process of clinical trials using Real Time Data Analysis or using blockchain to enable the secure sharing of patient data.

Its philosophy is “give data, get data”. In practice it means that every patient using the website has access to an array of crowd-sourced information from the wider community, such as common medication side-effects, and patterns in sufferers’ symptoms and behaviour….(More)”.

Waze-fed AI platform helps Las Vegas cut car crashes by almost 20%

Liam Tung at ZDNet: “An AI-led, road-safety pilot program between analytics firm Waycare and Nevada transportation agencies has helped reduce crashes along the busy I-15 in Las Vegas.

The Silicon Valley Waycare system uses data from connected cars, road cameras and apps like Waze to build an overview of a city’s roads and then shares that data with local authorities to improve road safety.

Waycare struck a deal with Google-owned Waze earlier this year to “enable cities to communicate back with drivers and warn of dangerous roads, hazards, and incidents ahead”. Waze’s crowdsourced data also feeds into Waycare’s traffic management system, offering more data for cities to manage traffic.

Waycare has now wrapped up a year-long pilot with the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC), Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP), and the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT).

RTC reports that Waycare helped the city reduce the number of primary crashes by 17 percent along the Interstate 15 Las Vegas.

Waycare’s data, as well as its predictive analytics, gave the city’s safety and traffic management agencies the ability to take preventative measures in high risk areas….(More)”.