Transparency International's Frank Vogl: Technology Can Help Fight Corruption

September 12th, 2012

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Frank Vogl, one of the founders of Transparency International, wrote an op-ed in the Financial Times today. He is optimistic that the rise of information technology will lead to more assertive judicial systems and more accountable government. Vogl writes,

The arrest on Sunday of the Indian cartoonist Aseem Trivedi for “insulting” his country in his work, highlights the dangers of lampooning corruption, not just in India but across much of the world. Corruption is not a single event. It is perpetrated every day against citizens by crooked politicians and civil servants consumed with greed and hubris. However, as the case of Mr Trivedi shows, in the age of instant communication, it is also becoming much harder to hide.

In scores of nations, corruption is a major cause of poverty and human rights abuses and leads to justice systems that serve only the powerful and the rich. It is an affront to the proper functioning of a market economy. And it threatens our global security – the trade in illicit weapons, for example, is facilitated by bribes.

This is far from an issue exclusive to poor and developing countries. No government can claim that it does not harbour officials who abuse their office for personal gain. The more than $2bn that will probably be spent in this year’s US elections has a nasty smell to it – who can believe that so many special interest groups are pouring tens of millions of dollars into the campaign if they do not believe that they will extract major benefits if their candidates succeed?

Read the whole op-ed here.

At the 2012 Task Force Conference in Gammarth, Tunisia, one breakout panel, “Transitioning to Transparency: Harnessing Technology to Improve Access to Information and Combat Corruption”, will tackle this issue head-on. The registration deadline is fast approaching, so click here for more information.

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Written by EJ Fagan

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