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Slovenia gets transparent by revealing all government spending via Supervizor (funkykaraoke.com)
130 points by tomazstolfa on Aug 23, 2011 | hide | past | favorite | 18 comments

One project I always wanted to do is create a publicly searchable database which mined connections between public officials and their financial interests.

It would kind of be like a Facebook which the users had no control over their profiles. All known associates of an individual would be linked together in a giant social network. An algorithm would flag conflicts of interest. This should make it easy to see problems with connections a step away from a public official rather than just high profile associates or close family members.

Automated alerts would trigger when individuals within a public official's group are arrested, convicted of a crime, etc. Much like Google's algorithm identifies "bad neighborhoods" of web site links, you could instantly see if a particular public official was surrounded by questionable or explicitly corrupt characters.

Most importantly this could be used to generate an easy to understand corruption score, making it simple for the public at large to understand how corrupt the individual is. Once a particular politician or official scored past a certain point they may become an outcast, finding potential campaign fundraisers and advocates avoiding them.

The migration of eyeballs away from television and old media is going to have a profound impact on the democratic political space. Imagine if a political candidates advertisements delivered via Google also contained a corruption score next to them, much like how e-commerce stores on Adwords display user ratings.

If you haven't already, you might want to take a look at some of the projects put together by the Sunlight Foundation (http://sunlightfoundation.com/projects/).

In addition, their developer section (http://sunlightlabs.com/) is full of APIs and datasets for dealing with government transparency data.

http://influencenetworks.org/ may be close to what you talk about:

"Influence Networks is an open-source, collaborative directory of relationships between people, institutions and companies. Each relation has its own level of trustworthiness, so that facts can be distinguished from noise."

I gush about Slovenia all the time. During my 3 years living in Europe, it was probably my favorite place to travel to . . . absolutely gorgeous country and great people . . . also really darn innovative, smart and open (as illustrated by this project).

Wish that last part was really the case. If you want to succeed here you best back your bags and move out to somewhere else. It's just the way it is here communism is still deeply rooted in our society and successful people are frowned upon by vast majority (envy) and you'll have no luck finding any decent business ethics here.

Downvoter, why? I speak from personal experience living&working in Slovenia ...

I upvoted you back sinc I don't like the meaningless downvoting nither. But I must say that Slovenia, while still having a number of traits you have described, is in no way worse than similar Central European countries like Austria. If you really want to see a medieval mindset, just cross the border to Croatia... :)

Yeah I'm not saying that it's all that bad, and I know you guys have it worst but still ... it's no paradise :)

The "tycoons" are looked down upon, right?

Yep. Although to be fair ... some deserve to be called that.

With all the doom and gloom of the economy, naysaying, sky-is-falling, world-is-ending discussion (much of it warranted), it's nice to see that we're still progressing - as a global society- towards freedom and transparency.

Bonus points for this progression being driven by technology.

Good stuff, but only as strong as its weakest link - what's reported to the government, and corruption can creep in at many levels. But this is a great step.

Because any discrepancies could flag corruption, maintaining consistency would require the corruption to be quite wide spread and far reaching into many branches of the government to be successful.

Consider without this kind of system there is considerable amount of opacity that exists between organisational units. Corruption functions well as long as this kind of isolation is maintained for one simple reason: usually in this kind of arrangement, your gain is somebody else's loss.

If the network of corruption is too large you have to spread the gains much too thinly to make it worth the effort. Likewise, the more distant someone in that network is from the originator of said corruption, the more like they are to have very different goals and ideals and therefore disagree with and expose this kind of corruption.

That's why I think this kind of system has a considerable degree of resistance to misreporting of information. Certainly not perfect, but it makes corrupt behaviour much more difficult and risky.

Actually it is reported BY the government.

Neat. To get started, try entering "UJP" in the top box, and hitting the button. Then translate that field, or let Chrome keep doing it for you (that's a handy feature). You can dive into companies and even individual transactions, though I haven't seen any itemized receipts yet :)

I'll have to go and ask my Slovenian co-worker about this tomorrow. Sounds interesting.

Ask him. He'll probably know about it. It's the biggest news in Slovenia atm.

Much needed in the U.S.

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