Blog

New Initiative: Open Data for Tax Justice #OD4TJ

Every year countries lose billions of dollars to tax avoidance, tax evasion and more generally to illicit financial flows. According to a recent IMF estimate around $700 billion of tax revenues is lost each year due to profit-shifting. In developing countries the loss is estimated to be around $200 billion, which as a share of […]

New Discussion Paper: “Democratising the Data Revolution”

“New technologies are leading to an exponential increase in the volume and types of data available, creating unprecedented possibilities for informing and transforming society and protecting the environment. Governments, companies, researchers and citizen groups are in a ferment of experimentation, innovation and adaptation to the new world of data, a world in which data are […]

Brazil’s Development Bank – The Elephant in the Stadium

This is a guest blog post by Andrew Simms analyst and campaigner at our StopSecretContracts.org coalition partner Global Witness. If you believe public contracts should be open contracts, sign our petition and let world leaders know. This article first appeared on Global Witness’s website. Symbolism doesn’t get much better than this – thousands of homeless […]

Stop the harassment of Hungarian NGOs by the government

The Hungarian government has started to target transparency and humanitarian NGOs. The political climate in Hungary has been deteriorating sharply since the re-election of the government led by Viktor Orban. The latest indication of a harsher political environment is the harassment of humanitarian and transparency NGOs. The Hungarian government accuses the targeted NGOs to be […]

Secret oil contract loses Nigerian people $1.1 billion

Royal Dutch Shell and the Italian oil company, Eni, have been implicated in a secret oil deal that enriched the former Nigerian oil minister to a staggering degree, and lost the Nigerian state $1.1 billion that could have been spent on vital and much needed services. As shareholders and investors gather today at Shell’s Annual […]

Opening Up EU Procurement Data

The following post is by Friedrich Lindenberg (and on Twitter), originally posted here. What is the next European dataset that investigative journalists should look at? Back in 2012 at the DataHarvest conference, Brigitte, investigative superstar from FarmSubsidy and co-host of the conference, had a clear answer: let’s open up TED (Tenders Electronic Daily). TED is […]

The Tragic Consequences of Secret Contracts

The following post is by Seember Nyager, CEO of the Public and Private Development Centre in Nigeria, one of our campaign partners in the Stop Secret Contracts campaign Every day, through secret contracts being carried out within public institutions, there is confirmation that the interest of the public is not served. A few days ago, […]

Why secret contracts matter in aid transparency

The following guest post is by Nicole Valentinuzzi, from our Stop Secret Contracts campaign partner Publish What You Fund. A new campaign to Stop Secret Contracts, supported by the Open Knowledge Foundation, Sunlight Foundation and many other international NGOs, aims to make sure that all public contracts are made available in order to stop corruption […]

From Health in the UK to Education in Nigeria – Stop Secret Contracts

Today it was announced that fraud and error in the UK National Health Service are leading to the loss of around £7 billion each year. This could pay for about 250,000 new nurses, and comes at a time when the service is struggling more than ever under the pressures of austerity. One of the main […]

Britain ‘shines light of transparency’ on secret lobbying. Just kidding.

The following article is cross-posted from OpenDemocracy. David Cameron’s lobbying bill exposes the hollowness of his muscular claims about cracking down on crony capitalism. Britain’s democracy remains under corporate capture. Image: Government wants to register Lobbying Agencies alone (Alliance for Lobbying Transparency) Today the government’s proposed Lobbying Bill will go into parliamentary ping-pong between the […]

The Open Knowledge Foundation opposes copyright term extensions in TPP negotiations

The Open Knowledge Foundation has joined a group of civil society organisations and activists from around the world in an open letter opposing proposals to increase the duration of copyright as part of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. This follows on from another recent letter asking for greater openness around the TPP negotiations, which […]

Sign our petition asking the UK government to stop secret corporate lobbying

Today the Open Knowledge Foundation and the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency are co-launching a petition endorsed by a group of transparency and civil society organisations, asking the UK government to rewrite the lobbying bill to give citizens a proper register of lobbyists in the UK As we’ve written about before, the lobbying register proposed in […]

What needs to happen to enable citizens to Follow the Money around the world?

The following post is from Alan Hudson, Policy Director (Transparency & Accountability) at ONE and Jonathan Gray, Director of Policy and Ideas at the Open Knowledge Foundation. A few weeks back, we launched a new global “Follow the Money” network of organisations pushing for the transparency needed to enable citizens to hold decision-makers to account […]

UK takes lead on ending company secrecy at Open Government Partnership Summit

We will be updating this post throughout the morning, as further details are announced. For press contact, call +44 (0)1223 422159 or email press@okfn.org. This morning UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced the UK’s support for public registers of beneficial ownership, or who really owns companies, at the Open Government Partnership Summit in London. In […]

Next Steps on “Follow the Money” – from OKCon to the Open Government Partnership Summit

The following post is from Alan Hudson, Policy Director (Transparency & Accountability) at ONE and Jonathan Gray, Director of Policy and Ideas at the Open Knowledge Foundation. Last month we announced the Open Knowledge Foundation and ONE’s plans to support and strengthen the community of activists and advocacy organisations working to enable citizens to follow […]

“Follow the Money” with ONE and the Open Knowledge Foundation

The following post is from Alan Hudson, Policy Director (Transparency & Accountability) at ONE and Jonathan Gray, Director of Policy and Ideas at the Open Knowledge Foundation. We want to see a world in which citizens are able to hold decision-makers to account for the use of public money, using information about where it comes […]

Beneficial ownership registries should be published as open data

In the coming months many governments around the world will decide whether databases of who really owns and controls companies should be made public or not. As we’ve said before, we think registers of ‘beneficial ownership‘ (i.e. registers of who really stands to benefit from company ownership, not just whomever it is convenient or expedient […]

Natural resource revenues should be published as open data

Who pays what for a given country’s natural resources? With billions of dollars changing hands for access to oil, gas and mineral reserves every year, there is huge potential for corruption, conflict, injustice and environmental destruction around the extraction of natural resources. We think that information about natural resource revenues should be published as open […]

What’s the deal with the UK government’s new spending tool?

We were pleasantly surprised to learn that this morning the UK government launched a new tool to explore UK public spending. The ‘Government Interrogating Spending Tool’ (fear not – you the user are supposed to be the giver, not the receiver, of interrogation) or ‘GIST’ is, according to the Cabinet Office, “one of the first […]

Open tax data, or just VAT ‘open wash’

This post is by Chris Taggart, the co-founder and CEO of OpenCorporates, the largest open database of companies in the world, and a member of the Open Government working group. [Disclosure: I am on the UK Tax Transparency Board, which has not yet discussed these proposals, but will be doing so at the next meeting […]

Using public data to flag tax avoidance schemes?

This post was jointly written by Jonathan Gray (@jwyg), Director of Policy and Ideas at the Open Knowledge Foundation and Tony Hirst (@psychemedia), Data Storyteller at the Open Knowledge Foundation’s School of Data project. It is cross-posted from the School of Data blog. Today OpenCorporates added a new visualisation tool that enables you to explore […]

What data needs to be opened up to tackle tax havens?

How to tackle tax havens and how to open up official data were two of the headline topics at the G8 Summit in Northern Ireland last week. But unfortunately the bold plans and commitments that many were hoping for did not materialise. It seemed that the G8 countries might lead a new global initiative to […]

Open Knowledge may yet come to medicine – let’s help make it happen

Today is International Clinical Trials Day. To mark the event, here’s a post from Iain Hrynaszkiewicz reviewing the current state of open knowledge in medicine. You can see an earlier version on F1000’s blog. The European Medicines Agency (EMA), the organisation which approves drug license applications from the pharmaceutical industry in Europe, has made important […]

We need open carbon emissions data now!

Last week the average concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached 400 parts per million, a level which is said to be unprecedented in human history. Leading scientists and policy makers say that we should be aiming for no more than 350 parts per million to avoid catastrophic runaway climate change. But what’s in […]

We Need an Open Database of Clinical Trials

The award winning science writer and physician Ben Goldacre recently launched a major campaign to open up the results of clinical trials. The AllTrials initiative calls for all clinical trials to be reported and for the “full methods and the results” of each trial to be published. Currently negative results are poorly recorded and positive […]

Goodbye Aaron Swartz – and Long Live Your Legacy

Aaron Swartz, coder, writer, archivist and activist, took his own life in New York on Friday. Aaron worked tirelessly to open up and maximise the societal impact of information in three areas which are central to our work at the Foundation: public domain cultural works, public sector information, and open access to publicly funded research. […]

Let’s defend Open Formats for Public Sector Information in Europe!

Following some remarks from Richard Swetenham from the European Commission, we made a few changes relative to the trialogue process and the coming steps: the trialogue will start its meetings on 17th December and it is therefore already very useful to call on our governments to support Open Formats! When we work on building all […]

Introducing the Declaration on Parliamentary Openness

This guest post is by Scott Hubli and Andrew G. Mandelbaum from the National Democratic Institute (NDI). NDI is partering with the Sunlight Foundation and the Latin American Network for Legislative Transparency to enhance networking among parliamentary monitoring organizations on issues of parliamentary openness and democratic reform, with the support of the Omidyar Network, the […]

UK Open Standards Consultation

The following post is cross-posted from Jeni’s blog – http://www.jenitennison.com/blog/ Over the last few months, the UK Government has been running a consultation on its Open Standards policy. The outcome of this consultation is incredibly important not only for organisations and individuals who want to work with government but also because of its potential knock-on […]

Greater Manchester – Open Data City

The following guest post is by Julian Tait, the key coordinator of the Open Data Cities project for FutureEverything in Greater Manchester and ongoing advocate for the DataGM datastore. ###Open Data in Manchester How would cities evolve if all data were made open? Would the same inequalities and asymmetries persist? What would need to happen […]

Release of Whole of Government Accounts

The following guest post is by Dan Herbert, who works on our Where Does My Money Go and Open Spending projects. He is the Programme Manager for MSc Accounting at Oxford Brookes University. This week sees the publication of the first Whole of Government Accounts for the UK. WGA represents the end of a decade […]

The Aid Revolution begins with XML

The following guest post is by Claudia Elliot from Publish What You Fund. IATI XML data After two years of negotiating, the 18 donors of the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) agreed on February 9th the final details of a new global standard for publishing aid information. This format makes aid information internationally comparable, and […]

Public Transport Data for Berlin

The following post is from Stefan Wehrmeyer, who has worked on projects such as Mapnificent, and has recently joined the Open Knowledge Foundation as a developer! Public Transport Data is awesome! It’s one of the few datasets that people actually use every day when they ask for the next bus or the fastest route. And […]

Open Bibliographic Data Challenge

What can you do with open access to data? What great ideas do you have for utilising open access to bibliographic catalogues? Or what example prototypes can you come up with? We want to find out! 2 x £50 prizes for great ideas using bibliographic data 2 x £500 prizes for building prototype apps using […]

A Picture of the Election

The following post is from Donovan Hide, a developer working on the Straight Choice project. Donovan explains how he made an increasingly popular picture of the election. Over 5000 leaflets have been collected, scanned or photographed and then uploaded by the public to the the straight choice. All these images were very colourful and varied, […]

Election data!

If you’d asked me back in 2005, I’d have told you that the 2010 election would be the first online election. It turned out not to be. For example, the YouTube and Facebook leaders debate was much less important than the Television debates. However, there are a few places relating to data where the Internet […]

Dispatches from Digistan

Chris Puttick of OpenArchaeology sends news of the Digital Standards Organisation: A new group is being formed to promote open digital standards, starting with a declaration regarding the importance of digital standards being truly open. Part of Digistan’s effort to promote understanding, development, and adoption of open digital standards implies a clear definition of what […]

Zoetropes and Nickelodeons: A response to OFCOM’s ‘Public Service Publisher’ proposal

At Rufus Pollock of the Open Knowledge Foundation’s command (‘It’s your civic duty!’) I decided to accept an invitation to the riverside HQ of OFCOM, the UK’s independent regulatory body for television, radio, telcoms and wireless, to participate in a discussion about what the UK’s putative ‘Public Service Publisher’ (PSP) should be. It seems that […]

A great day for the law and for the people

Today the Department for Constitutional Affairs’ long awaited Statute Law Database project has launched, free at point of use for anyone. It’s super. Last week, access to consolidated versions of the law of the UK wasn’t possible without paying lots of money. Now it is free. There are some down sides – 40 acts are […]

INSPIRE: Where Next?

The OKF has been very actively involved in the publicgeodata’s campaign on the INSPIRE directive. Now that it appears compromise between all of the parties — the European Commission, Council and Parliament — has been reached it is natural to ask ourselves both: Where next? and How did we do? Where Next The immediate point […]

Free access to the laws that bind us?

In many countries, such as the United States, laws are published as open data, which anybody can copy and reproduce. In the United Kingdom, only the changes to the law (patches, in computer science terms) are published freely. You can find them on the Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) website. They are known as […]

In Brussels for Committee Vote on the INSPIRE Directive

By fortuitous coincidence I was in Brussels earlier this week in the run-up to the ENVI committee vote on the INSPIRE directive. The OKF has been actively supporting the Public Geodata campaign and finding myself with some time spare this seemed to a perfect opportunity to do some last minute contacting of MEPs as well […]

WIPO SCCR 2005-11-23: Intervention of the Open Knowledge Foundation

In the interests of brevity Mr Chairman we will limit our comments. The Open Knowledge Foundation (OKF) is a non-profit organization based in the United Kingdom, which is dedicated to promoting access to knowledge as well as an open approach to knowledge production and reuse. Brazil earlier today mentioned a 3-step test for the public […]