The clear-cut recipe to fight corruption all around the world does not yet exist. The anti-corruption strategies, however, are constantly updated using the latest state-of-the-art mechanisms due to the ongoing technological progress.
This article aims to shed light upon the latest game-changing achievements in technology called upon to fight corruption.
Blockchain is an open data set that consists of connected blocks of data. The data is not kept on a single server but depends on a Peer-to-Peer network and is serviced by every blockchain participant resulting in a design resistant to indiscernible modification or deletion of data.
Nowadays, blockchain is used in 3 significant ways to combat corruption consisting of individual vetting, registry of assets, and financial transaction records. For example, blockchain is used to live-check wire transfer destinations, payroll payments, and compare suppliers’ prices.
Digital public services or Digital government
The digital public services system is aimed at providing an opportunity for private individuals and business entities to receive all the necessary public services and legal transactions online. For example, digital public services allow registering a private company through the system.
The benefits of such an approach are obvious, including a lack of necessity to arrange a one-on-one meeting between a citizen using the system and a government employee. The role previously played by the government employee is now automated and entrusted to an algorithm thus, removing the human factor from the equation, minimizing the risk of bribery, and creating a transparent trustworthy system.
Over the last couple of years, open access to information became the main instrument associated with anti-corruption efforts. It allows civil society activists and oversight committees to control government spending. Moreover, transparency within the governmental bodies improves the citizens’ trust towards them.
Even the mere existence of the transparency portals has the potential to inhibit fraudulent activities. Increasing the risk of being caught by the authorities, the portals constitute a serious obstacle for the civil servants demanding bribes from the citizens as a form of payment. The transparency portals made it easier to uncover such violations as civil servants’ ties to the private companies, corruption in the tendering process, cases of tax evasion, etc.
Transfering the role previously played by the government employee to an automated system and entrusting it to an algorithm thus, removing the human factor from the equation, minimizes the risk of bribery, and creates a transparent trustworthy system.
The principles governing crowdsourcing and crowdfunding platforms are quite similar. The main difference between them is that instead of pitching in and collecting a certain sum of money, the users are putting together pieces of information. Within the platform, the citizens are shedding light on the corruption cases and publicly sharing their experiences.
«I Paid A Bribe» crowdsourcing platform that originated in India is a well-known successful example of the implementation of such a mechanism, that was adopted in 10 more countries later on. The «I Paid A Bribe» platform allowed the users to share the corruption cases details such as the nature of the corruption activities, the location and the sum paid to the government employee as well as the cases when they refused to pay the bribe or interacted with the trustworthy civil servants.
This particular mechanism is a little similar to the crowdsourcing platforms, however, the whistleblowing instruments are tailored to suit more serious corruption cases that should be prosecuted by the law and lead to the criminal charges or convictions attributed to the accused. More serious methods should be used when dealing with such corruption cases.
Such platforms are providing vigorous protection when it comes to the identity of the whistleblower or the safety of the data. The platform’s technological design masks the whistleblower’s IP address and protects against the transferring of data. It is also important to involve the legislative framework as in many countries the anonymous whistleblowers are yet to receive the necessary legal protection.