Archive for the 'Technology' Category

Filipinos give Lessons in push for Openness

Filipino parents unhappy with the way their children’s schools are being run now have a ready remedy: sending an email or text to the website checkmyschool.org.

The site has a scrolling list of user complaints, ranging from a computer shortage in an elementary school to allegations – supported by a photo – that another institution is putting pupils’ health at risk by allowing rubbish to pile up.

“[The site gives] real-time feedback on whether teachers and textbooks are showing up in schools – and it’s putting pressure on government to respond,” said Sanjay Pradhan, a vice-president of the World Bank, which is supporting the project run by the education ministry and civil society groups.

In its simplicity, accessibility and exploitation of the raw power of information, the checkmyschool.org initiative reflects a growing enthusiasm internationally for grassroots approaches to tackling graft. Aided by social media, activists are using revealing data to harness a widespread public frustration with governments manifested in events ranging from Arab world revolts to the Occupy protests.  > Read full story

Corruption and Micro-blogging in China

China is witnessing a leadership transition that only happens once every decade. It should be a time of excitement for Chinese people but this transition hasn’t been as smooth as some might have hoped.

A series of events has raised questions about corruption in the Communist Party, most notably the scandal involving Wang Lijun, Bo Xilai and the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood. International observers have been paying attention but Chinese citizens are also paying attention via social media sites such as Sina Weibo.

You would expect such a scandal to be present on Facebook or Twitter in countries with a freer press, as well in the national papers, but perhaps you wouldn’t expect to hear about it in China where the media is heavily censored. > Read full story

The Open Bank Project – raising the bar of financial transparency

This post has been written for the IACC blog  by Simon Redfern, CEO of Tesobe and Founder of the Open Bank project.

Shortly after I arrived in Berlin in 2004, I was thinking about some rather sad and ugly news concerning corruption and war – and I thought of a new type of bank; a bank where all the accounts would be open for everyone to see! I mentioned this idea to a good friend in London, and he said “what about a protocol” so that lots of banks could offer accounts like that. Then, in September 2008, I visited Athens to work on a dance theatre piece as a composer / musician. When exploring the city during the breaks, I noticed several signs outside construction sites proclaiming “Funded by the EU!”, “Funded by the EU!”. I mentioned this enthusiastically to our set designer, but she replied “Yes Simon, but there’s so much corruption here!”. > Read full story

IACC APP Lab – Fix my street

This time we had a closer look at the fix my street website. Fix my street was developed by UK charity mySociety. If you do not know mySociety yet – then check them out. They have two main missions: the first is to be a charitable project which builds websites that give people simple, tangible benefits in the civic and community aspects of their lives, the second is to teach the public and voluntary sectors, through demonstration, how to use the internet most efficiently to improve lives. > Read full story

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