The ‘open data’ movement is transforming the accountability of governments towards their to citizens, but what about companies?
Highly interconnected global companies have exploded in complexity and power, and increasingly affect people’s lives for good and bad. Yet in tandem with this growth, corporate governance has weakened, while the opacity and complexity of this corporate world is a key enabler of corruption, tax avoidance and organised crime.
HacksHackers Cape Town and JHB) are both holding meet-ups this week focusing on opening up corporate information. The group has secured Chris Taggart of OpenCorporates.com and an expert on the subject, as a speaker.
Until now, painstaking manual investigation has been required to track even the most basic facts about a company, including whether it exists, and who owns it.
But Taggart says it’s time to change that and is currently building an open access database with basic information on every corporate entity in the world (including 32 000 South African companies and counting), which can then be remixed and combined with other data, such as government contracts.
HacksHackers have invited all those with an interest in issues of corruption and transparency to a hands-on practical session to learn about Taggart’s techniques and how you can put them to work for you.
In Cape Town a few of the finalists in the African News Innovation Challenge will be giving a short presentation on their entries that have made it through to the final round of 40 projects, out of 513 entries.
And Adi Eyal and Ray Joseph will be doing a short demo of the free tool the Census 2011 they’re building as a free resource to help journalists deepen their reporting on a wide range of issues, including service delivery, health and other subjects.
There’ll be an opportunity to network and enjoy some nibbles and a glass of wino or three.
Both events are free but you’ll need to go to http://hackshackers.co.za/pages/hh-meetup-open-corporates-invite.html to sign up as we need to know attendance numbers for catering purposes.
Johannesburg: Tuesday, October 23, 18:30 – 21:00 pm
at Praekelt Foundation, 44 Stanley
Cape Town: Saturday, October 27, 18:00 – 20:30 at Umbono Accelerator, Woodstock