Archive for the ‘IACC workshop’ Category

Making the Invisible Visible: Corruption Vs. Technology

7 December 2010
At the last International Anti-Corruption Conference we had a great session (in my view anyways) looking at how to get data, what to do with it and how to make it accessible and transparent. And finally, how to make it useful to engage citizens and government.
Together with Hernán Charosky of Poder Ciudadano I organised a session on making the invisible visible:

How we use theoretical information and collected data is key. To target interventions to support citizens and to make strong arguments in a competitive media environment, we need to use our data to help create meaning – to help tell stories. We can use interactive info graphics, mapping tools and other technologies to reach new audiences and strengthen advocacy strategies.

We believe that presenting information and visualising data can be an incredible tool to understanding corruption and its impact on people’s lives. In our session we would like to find out how we can improve engaging with citizens and [game-changers] using existing and new technologies.

This was part of the People’s Empowerment session that tried to showcase and connect a wide range of initiatives that have demonstrated their impact in empowering people.
Here are the notes that I used to present the session:

As you probably can’t read my scribbles, here’s a short transcription:
1)
How much is one trillion dollars?
It’s US$ 166 per person.
X number of schools.
A road around the equator.
12 Zeros.
Fund the military of NATO countries.
2) The session will show you the power of data and information.
3) It willl show you how to get data hiden on local government websites, and make it accessible and attractive for making change.
4) It will make the step from technology and information > to citizen participation!
>>> Information is power. We’ll show you how to use it.

In terms of outputs, these are the tweets that I did during the meeting, enriched by some additional links. I hope they are useful for some of you.

Getting ready for technology & information Vs corruption session at 2pm w @poderciudadano @diegocasaes @techtransparent @newtactics #14iacc
Stephy @newtactics started presentation – showing the power of information to engage citizens. Great example “Political Nascar#14iacc
Now focusing on exploring data. Examples by @sunfoundation , New York crime data, and water polluters in the US
Now getting to action #14iacc: Adopt a Chevron Board Member
Next examples for succesful visual-based advocacy are Moroccan Sniper and Exxon Secrets #14iacc
Tools to do visualisations: DataViz, ManyEyes, Gapminder #14iacc More info at www.tacticaltech.org
Next in the session Making the Invisible Visible: www.dineroypolitica.org uncovering money flows in politics by @poderciudadano #14iacc
Important: once you have unlocked the data, keep it open! #opendata #14iacc
#frustrating #irony in a session of visualisation, the beamer shuts down
Within the framework of the conference, the workshop was a great success in my view. A lot of people, and a lot of questions on how to get the data, how to use it, and how to make information activism work for organisations that have traditionally published long reports (have a look at TacticalTech’s guides).
The success was because Stephanie and Marek from Tactical Tech, Hernán from Poder Ciudadano and Gonzalo Iglesias of Garagelab, as well as David Casaes of Esfera Publica representing the Technology for Transparency Network that did such a great job in presenting and discussing the issues and responding to the questions. Big thanks.
By the way, check out the new Technology for Transparency Network pages. The new categories introduced give a much better access to the projects.
What other examples for powerful and actionable visualisations do you have?
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Have the rules changed? A brief look on what has happened since the 13th IACC

4 November 2010

Are citizens changing the rule of the game?

This year, the International Anti-Corruption Conference has not only a session, but a whole stream focussing on a wide range of initiatives that put the citizens at the centre of the fight against corruption. A “Paradigm Shift”, as the conference calls it. The special sessions run under the title Changing the Rules of the Game, and looks at how people are mobilised, ways of supporting victims, witnesses and whistleblowers, and how to connect these [game]changers.

This blog has been started 2 years ago, for the 13th International Anti-Corruption Conference, as part of a session entitled “ACOUNTABILITY 2.0 : Using Social Media in the Fight Against Corruption“. It proposed to:

…demonstrate how social media is used to advance corporate social responsibility, government accountability and political integrity and human rights (and) provide a platform to share practical experience with these tools with a broader governance and anti-corruption audience and inspire a discussion on how social media tools can be best appropriated for the fight against corruption.

Ellen Miller of the Sunlight Foundation and Julian Assange, of Wikileaks, present on the panel back in 2008, definitely have changed the rules of the game. Sunlight Foundation has developed a series of amazing tools to make government more transparent, and thus, in a way, of how citizens experience politics. And Wikileaks has challenged questions of secrecy of information as never seen before through the publication of classified information on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

I think we’ve come a long way since then. Since 2008 we have been increasingly experiencing fascinating implementations, many of which bottom-up by citizens who had some technical knowledge and the passion to develop tools that would provide greater transparency and lessen the opportunities for corruption.

Some of the trends in Information and Communication Technology that have fostered this development are mapping and location technologies, the increase in mobile phones and the development of simpler interfaces to develop these platforms. Have a look at the Technology for Transparency Network that provides a great resource for analysing and categorising these initiatives.

For example mapping technology, such as Ushahidi, has sparked a series of projects crowdsourcing monitoring from elections to acts of crime. One of the ideas that Transparency International has been working on is to engage citizens in monitoring development projects through a so-called “social monitoring” tool we called Collocal – at one place. A first pilot project has just been launched for the city of Vladimir in Russia.

Other examples range from online to offline, from visualising financial flows in Argentina, Dinero y Politica, to great project I Paid a Bribe.com in India, and from observing legislative processes in Chile and Guatemala to gathering expressions that describe corrupt behaviour. You’ll find some more mentioned on this blog.

Last year, Mary Joyce did a great job of highlighting the fact that “every citizen is a monitor” in a presentation to TI chapters. It is this active role of citizens and this empowering quality of social media that has inspired many to believe in a new wave in the fight against corruption with a focus on citizens. A great discussion can be read in this NewTactics dialogue on how to empower citizens, held this summer.

Yet, much remains to be done. The key questions to ask when looking at developing new projects should be: What information should be publicly available (and is not)? What could citizens do amd how could they engage in holding their leaders to account? What are issues that concern citizens the most? What are interests and drivers of relevant communities and groups of audiences?

It also has become evident that many of these tools have not yet made it into the anti-corruption mainstream and need to be broadenend in scope to become effective. While many platforms are developed to have greater transparency in politics, the concrete focus on reducing corruption and using this information for sustainable change in politics is often forgotten. The anti-corruption movement needs to link up more strongly with the transparency and Open Data movement to take full advantage of the synergies of bringing knowledge (some good examples presented by Ronny Patz at PDF Europe last month).

So looking at the last couple of years, have the rules changed for good? Are the corrupt more likely to be exposed because citizens monitor them with tools based on new technologies?

I think so. But I see a lot of opportunities to do much more.

What do you think?

By the way, find all information on the 14th IACC here, and follow on Twitter the conference through the hashtag #14iacc and @14iacc.

Blog, tweet and film the 14th IACC

13 October 2010

Here’s a post  that I am cross-posting from the Space for Transparency blog. I am really looking forward to working with some great people joining me for a small team of people that will cover the discussions at the 14th IACC and see how we can engage more people in the conversations happening!

So if you are reading this and you are interested, please feel encouraged to apply.

Also in the next couple of days, I’ll be giving a little look back on what has happened in this field since the 13th IACC two years ago. I think we’ve come a long way!

And I want to share with you of course what discussions are to be expected at the 14th IACC.

So, some exciting days ahead. Stay tuned.

Blog, tweet and film the 14th IACC

Are you a journalist or a professional blogger? Are you young – and we actually have a broad definition of young here? Are you working in an Asian country?

Then it would be great to have you join me to form a small team of journalists and bloggers that will cover the 14th International Anti-Corruption Conference in Bangkok, this November, 10-13!

Under the motto “Restoring Trust: Global Action for Transparency” the conference will address the key challenges in fighting corruption, identified as peace and security, transparency and accountability in the natural resources and energy markets, climate governance, an accountable corporate world, and reaching the Millennium Development Goals.

I will be leading this social media team with the objective to open up the conversations during the conference inviting interested people around the world to join the discussions. By blogging about new approaches and ideas presented, tweeting the most relevant thoughts, and video-interviewing the most interesting participants, we want to encourage everyone, who could not be at the conference in persona, to follow the conference and chip in with their thoughts and viewpoints. Hopefully, we will be able to make sure that more people can contribute to the exchange on the most challenging issues in the fight against corruption.

So:

It would be great to meet you in Bangkok!

Successful panel at IACC

6 November 2008

About 100 participants attended the workshop on social media at the 13th IACC. Saturday, 5 pm, room MC3, one level below the earth. Darius Cuplinskas, Director of the Information Programme at the Open Society Institute moderated the panel made up by Ellen Miller, Sunlight Foundation, Julian Assange, Advisory Board of Wikileaks, Inés Selvood, Clarin newspaper and University of Buenos Aires, Nicolas Hernández, OCASA and Shaazka Beyerle, Senior Advisor of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict.

It was quite a diverse group that looked from very different viewpoints at the issue of using social media in the fight against corruption.

Ellen Miller gave an overview of the great work the Sunlight Foundation has been doing over the years looking at accountability and transparency via the innovative use of technology and internet (see also her post on this blog).

Julian Assange presented the concept of the website wikileaks.org, an anonymous platform for whistleblowers to expose sensitive documents, and a research tool for journalists.

Inés Selvood looked from a journalist’s perspective at the question of how blogs can and are used for the objectives of civil society organisations, challenging the role of traditional journalism and presenting concepts of alternative and citizen journalism.

With a view at using the interactive concepts of social media such as chat and networking functionalities via facebook Nicolas Hernández presented how OCASA uses them for their youth education programme.

Finally, how user-orientated tools of social media can be used to empower citizen and support civic action was illustrated by Shaazka Beyerle on the example of Egypt’s facebook revolution (see here and here)

Let me just highlight one intriguing question that came from the audience. How does social media not only change the way corruption can be tackled, but also, how do civil society organisations need to change to use these tools and concepts adequately? And indeed it seems that traditionally grown organisations will need to adapt their advocacy approaches to make these concepts work and be able to engage more effectively with the citizens who are able and willing to be join the efforts and do their part.

All in all, it was a great expert panel. Only downside was that there was not enough time for questions and feedback from the audience. But you can do that now right here on the blog. So, with the interest in the workshop and the apparent need to analyse today’s opportunities arising with the social web, I am happy to continue this blog and provide a space for discussion and ideas.

IACC conference started today

31 October 2008

The 13th IACC conference started with a panel on corruption, peace and security. Let me reflect on a couple of issues mentioned during the session.

13th IACC

13th IACC

One of the panellists that got me thinking was Irene Khan, Secretary General of Amnesty International. She highlighted that a Transparency International list of countries with high levels of corruption would look very similar to an Amnesty International list of countries with high levels of human rights violations. Human Rights can be important tools fighting corruption, especially the right for freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and are an underutilized legal framework to fight corruption.

Already in this opening plenary it becomes clear that it there is an essential need for the right of citizens to be involved, the right of victims for a voice.

Khan said, and here I see a link to this blog: “The best tool to fight corruption is an empowered citizen.” As I had argued earlier, social media is about empowering people.

This “social transparency”, being accountable towards the citizens, demanding leaders, politicians, to account to what they do, can be supported by the use of social media.

Another issue raised was on stolen money that, as Mark Pieth, Chairman of the OECD working Group on Bribery in International Business Transactions stated, must be hidden somewhere. More transparency, especially within global financial flows is urgently needed, as also Transparency International pointed out in its resolution of this year’s Annual Membership Meeting ahead of the 13th IACC.

It would be great to use crowdsourcing concepts to identify flows and assets of CEOs or politicians. To match the money with the people. As Pieth said, if dictators find it more difficult to hide their bounty in financial centre, this contributes to corruption. Maybe if they find their mansions and Maibachs posted on the web, people will become aware. A map on google un-hiding the villas by political leaders.

A question to the panelist asked them, what each one of them could do to fight corruption. So here are just some initial thoughts, if you have any ideas, I’d be interested in hearing and reading them here!

What can you do to fight corruption?

Sunlight Foundation: An Intro

28 October 2008

I’m delighted to participate in this group blog and even more pleased to have an opportunity to talk about Accountability 2.0 with such a distinguished group of colleagues at the conference this week. I thought that before making the journey to Athens that I would give the readers of this blog a short overview of Sunlight’s work here in the U.S.

Sunlight was founded in January 2006 with the nonpartisan goal of using the Internet — the new information technologies and social networks — to enable citizens to learn more about the work of our government and to create a more positive and interactive relationship with their elected officials. Initially we focused exclusively on the U.S. Congress, but we already extending our work to focus on the U.S. government at large.

From the beginning, our work has focused on shedding “sunlight” as a way to help reduce corruption, to ensure greater accountability by government and to foster a public trust in the vital institutions of our democracy. Sunlight is unique in the U.S. in that technology and the power of the Internet is at the core of all of our efforts.

All of our work — websites, databases, visualizations, lobbying — is based on the premise that the collective power of citizens to demand greater accountability is the clearest route to a real democracy and that transparency can make a huge difference in building public trust in the institutions of governance. Transparency can stop bad things from happening, for starters. It can allow citizens to become their own watchdogs, and it can give NGOs the fuel they need to create more effective advocacy campaigns.

Sunlight’s work serves as a catalyst to enable citizens to better understand, monitor and hold elected officials accountable; help investigative reporters, bloggers and citizen journalists do the research necessary to better inform the public; help citizens interested in following and hsaping politics to more easily inform themselves (and their readers and social networks) and get engaged; and push and pull our government into a much more expansive relationships with the public. We’ve launched numerous innovative websites, databases, and tools to that end.

I’m very much looking forward to sharing more details with our fellow panelists on Saturday afternoon an to learn more about how others are using the social web in their work.

Who are we and what is this blog about?

18 September 2008

The people behind the social media and anti-corruption workshop at this year’s International Anti-corruption conference (IACC) are: Georg Neumann, Dieter Zinnbauer, Editor of the Global Corruption Report and Conrad Zellmann. We are all strongly committed to our various professional responsibilities working for Transparency International Secretariat in Berlin, but this blog features exclusively our personal thoughts about matters of anti-corruption and beyond, not those of TI. This blog will accompany the workshop and we hope that it will help us gather additional ideas, interesting social-media based project examples and challenging questions for the actual workshop discussions on 1 November in Athens, Greece. In one of the next posts, we will start explaining in some more detail what our original thinking was behind the workshop proposal and who we’ve invited to enlighten and inspire the anti-corruption community about the potential of social media for the fight against corruption.

Start using social media

12 September 2008

With this blog, we will start gathering innovative and inspiring ideas around how social media and intelligent use of information technology can be used to make the fight against corruption more effective and sustainable.

Trying to gather ideas that have been put in place and that are employed around the world will allow us promote best practice, and synthesize new ideas and approaches with this blog. Finally, a workshop at the 13th International Anti-Corruption Conference in November will bring together anti-corruption activists together to see how social media can change how corruption is fought, and make our efforts more sustainable.

Naturally, many of the examples will not only be valuable for the anti-corruption community, but also for all the other areas where all our engagement is needed to make the world a fairer and better place. But many of the current anti-corruption initiatives are very high-level, addressing issues such as national legislation and international conventions. To be effective, everyone needs to be part of the solution. The involvement of people directly affected by corruption, but also engagement and conversations with all parties including the private sector are still rare.

Your input is very much welcomed and needed. Suggest initiatives that we haven’t covered, comment on projects that are mentioned. We will bring them and your comments to the workshop at the conference.

Hopefully, this blog will serve as a starting point for conversations, ideas, initiatives and projects. Let’s get started.