Technology against corruption

Technology against corruption

As mobile phone usage and internet access around the world increase it is clear that technology is transforming society.

The same goes for the fight against corruption: Websites like ipaidabribe.com in India and the use of Twitter and Facebook in events like the Arab Spring have shown how technology opens up new possibilities for citizens to demand change and public accountability.

Transparency International and its chapters are promoting people power in the digital age by hosting and developing various web- and mobile-based accountability initiatives. Below is a snapshot of some of these initiatives which were presented at a recent meeting of over 70 representatives of Transparency International’s free legal advice centres around the world.

Transparency International Legal Advice Centres
Offering free legal advice to victims and witnesses of corruption since 2003, our anti-corruption legal advice centres are now working in more than 50 countries around the world. So far, 120,000 people have come forward. Are you a victim of corruption? Find your closest legal advice centre here.

 

Fixing streets and more in Georgia

Fix My Street in Tbilisi, Georgia, is an online portal run by Transparency International Georgia where users can flag problems such as potholes or missed garbage collections, triggering an email to the mayor’s office. To make sure that authorities react to the issue and get it fixed, other users can track changes and repairs by posting comments and photos. Posters can be printed out and put up next to the problem site featuring a QR code which redirects to the online portal. Once a problem has been taken care of a green marker appears on the map of reported problems. Seven hundred and fifty problems have been fixed already, and the mayor’s office now features a prominent link to the portal on their website.

Battling Baksheesh in Morocco

Having the feeling that corruption is everywhere but nobody speaks up about it, our chapter in Morocco created a website in February 2012 where citizens can report corruption anonymously. Mamdawrinch, which means “We will not bribe”, lets citizens fill in a form describing the corruption allegation which then gets published on the site and can also be discussed on Twitter and Facebook.

Learning political leanings in Lithuania

Transparency International Lithuania is running an online parliamentary monitoring project called manoSeimas (meaning “my family”) which lets users find out about how parliament has been voting on policy issues for the past four years. On the website, the visitor is presented with policy issues as diverse as education reform, nuclear power or gay marriage, and can choose to be for, against or without an opinion on it. When the test is completed the user gets shown the representation of votes of parties in parliament and can find out which parliamentarian supports their issues. If unsure on a position there are documents outlining pro and con arguments for each policy issue.

Keeping tabs on corruption trials in Indonesia

Korupedia.org is an online list of convicted corrupt officials curated by our chapter in Indonesia. Each entry contains the name of the corruptor, how much money they embezzled and the final verdict of the trial. The site also lists those cases which have been stalled to give users an insight on the progress of cases and to form a basis for advocacy. The main purpose of the site is to create a national memory of corruptors to avoid them getting back to positions of power unscathed. 

No one disagrees with the importance of law enforcement to diminish corrupt practices. Yet, sometimes social sanctions are much more effective. Korupedia will provide a list of corruptors, their identity and a brief description of the case so people will not forget their crime to the country."

– Ilham B. Saenong, Manager of Transparency International Indonesia, in a blog post on the initiative.

Maps and Apps in FYR Macedonia

PrijaviKorupcija.org (meaning ‘report corruption’) is an Ushahidi-based web platform run by Transparency International Macedonia and the Center for International Relations (United States) that lets people submit corruption cases according to categories which are then placed on a map using geo-mapping. The website also serves mobile phone users by enabling the reporting of corruption cases via SMS, phone call and through an iPhone and Android app. All reports are verified by the chapter before they are put online. By offering smartphone access and the possibility to report corruption via Twitter using the hashtag #korupcijaMK, the Macedonian chapter is hoping to reach the younger population of the country. The website is available in both the Macedonian and Albanian languages.

Calling our chapter in Kenya

Our chapter in Kenya has developed a bulk SMS and Mobile Hotline Service called My Better SMS to help people living far away from its legal advice centres report corruption. Currently the chapter’s four centres in Nairobi, Eldoret, Mombasa and Kisumu receive over 800 calls monthly. Citizens who call the hotline number are prompted to choose the regional office they wish to contact. The SMS platform is also used for mobilising people and for sending out advocacy messages. Read more about what our Kenyan chapter is doing with Information and Communication Technology (ICT) here.

Global hackathon
In 2012, Transparency International and Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK) organised a series of Hackathons around the world to bring together anti-corruption and technology experts for creating innovative ICT solutions to corruption problems. Transparency International is now supporting its chapters to put their ideas on mobilising people through web- and mobile-based technologies into practice. Read about some of the projects here and get in touch if you are interested in becoming involved.

 

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