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Radix Hidayat

Knowledge Center, SalingSilang.com

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Using IT To Tackle Down Corruption

In my home country, Indonesia, corruption is still a cancer that infected the whole country. And the cancer has been infected the polices, judges, attorneys, and even the parliament members, forming the so-called oligarchy of corruptors.

I've curious about what Shaffi Mather is doing: using websites as a "hall of shame" of corrupt officials. Or even the WikiLeaks model. Maybe the same thing can be implemented in Indonesia, but there are some things i've been wondered about:

1. how to assured that the information is correct, based on proof, so that the sites can't be used for blackmailing other people?

2. how to protect the whistleblower from harm and counter-attack from the corrupt officials?

3. how to protect the site from shut down?

I'm looking for your opinion and insights, peeps. I hope this small dea will be meaningful someday, and the corrupt officials will be tacke down someday.

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    Feb 17 2011: I like your question. Something similar has been on my TED profile for a couple of years and I recently proposed an idea related to this ... get you friends and family to stop helping the money laundering that comes from corruption!! That includes the employees of companies like Goldman Sacks!!

    One idea I have had for some time related to IT but not sure how to implement would be to create a program that searches the databases of real estate property ownership in the US (which is public record and is mostly online) and matches it with politicians of different countries. I think a list of the properties in the US of Indonesian and Argentine politicians (and their families) would make a very interesting read ... maybe we could hand it to judges in Jakarta and Buenos Aires ... maybe something gets done about it .... right?
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      Feb 17 2011: Doing the matches is easy. The problem is not all required data is public and/or online.

      Does the estate property ownership database identify each owner uniquely (so that you can differenciate between, for example, Bill Clinton the ex-president of the US, with Bill Clinton the plumber)?

      Even assuming it does (say, by Social Security Numbers), how about the list of all politicians (and their Social Security Numbers or other uniquely identifiable data)?

      What about non-US policitians and non-US properties who's data is not public on both fronts (like in my country)?

      What about relatives and spouces being the formal owners of what's practically being used by said suspected politician? Other than different government records for direct parenthood and legal marrige, no formal data exists, and even these records are not public in any country.

      Revealing the data is more complicated than it sounds, because "knowledge is power" and power can be abused, so it's the government's job to only release data which it could (at least theoretically) manage to control the usage of.

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