Open company data on the rise: featuring G8, World Bank, EITI… | Open Knowledge Foundation Blog
"This month has been a good month for open corporate data, with a number of significant developments, all of them positive, and OpenCorporates is proud to have played a significant part in many of them. First, and perhaps most exciting for us has been the launch of the Open Company Data Index, supported by the World Bank Institute. This takes an updated version of the reports on access to company data that we did last year, and puts it in an easy-to-use website, so you can compare how well company registers make statutory information available. Critically, this makes visible to all the world just how poor access is to this vital information in many, even highly developed, countries. But not only that, we’ve seamlessly tied the Index to the OpenCorporates backend, to allow the search of OpenCorporates complete database of over 50 million companies, and through that all the features and data on OpenCorporates ... The launch of site has also coincided with an increasing understanding of just how important free, full and open access to company registers is. This was highlighted at the G8 Trade, Tax and Transparency Event (above), held just a week and a half ago at Lancaster House, on the eve of the G8 summit in Lough Erne. It’s easy to get cynical about grand events like this, but I have to say I was impressed with what appeared to be a genuine commitment and efforts by some, particuarly the UK government and the World Bank, to make a positive difference ... At the event, the World Bank’s Managing Director, Caroline Anstey, highlighted how the new Open Company Data Index has the power 'to incentivize governments to increase transparency of their corporate registries', and it’s noticeable to us that there is an increasing number of registers starting to return to their core public purpose, and embrace open. Also at the G8, the Open Data Charter was launched, and this really is a landmark in open data – not for what it says, which is what many in the open data community have been saying for some time, but for who is saying it. Here you have most of the world’s most powerful countries (China is missing, of course) committing to 'open by default', and setting out high level principles and practical actions that are required to achieve that. Some, like the UK and the US, have been saying this for some time (although their actions haven’t always backed up the rhetoric). For others, for example Japan, Russia, Canada and France, it moves them considerably further along the road than they were. Perhaps most significant of all was Germany, which had up to this point shown no inclination of even considering open data to be a discussion worth having, still less taking active steps to promote it. For it to even commit to open data in principle, still less 'open data by default…', is hugely significant, and not just for the German open data community, but also for Europe ..."