FOI Notes: Corporate Transparency, Tshwane, India, UK, US, Open Data, More

6 November 2014

Corporate Transparency: Transparency International issues a report on Transparency in Corporate Reporting about the websites of the world’s 124 largest publicly traded companies. Also see Guardian article.

Tshwane Principles: Open Society Foundations issues “a new and final version of the Global Principles on National Security and the Right to Information (the Tshwane Principles) in Spanish.

India: An article on “the most ridiculous RTI applications filed in India.”

United Kingdom: “How expensive can it be to deal with clearly absurd FOI requests?” is the topic of a blog post by David Higgerson.

Open Data: The state of open data as seen by OpenDataSoft.

Open Data: Making Transparency Stick: The Complex Dynamics of Open Data,” by Ben Worthy, University of London – Birkbeck College. Abstract:

This paper examines the complex dynamics of Open Data reform in the UK, assessing the chances of the policy ‘sticking’ or failing over time. Using the ideas of Patashnik and Zelizer (2013) on what makes policies succeed or fail post-enactment, it begins by looking at the unique features of Open Data. The broad but vague vision of the reform, its symbolism and ‘voteless’ status and the multi-instrument, multi-actor approach all make Open Data exceptional. The paper then examines how these play into the three factors that make a policy ‘stick’ or fail over time: the resources re-allocated by the policy, interpretation of its success by different actors and the institutional support it receives. It concludes by arguing that Open Data is likely to benefit from leadership and the ongoing innovation but may be threatened by resistance, manipulation of the aims and the underlying assumptions, which invite disappointment.

Commentary: Ian Gary, senior policy adviser on Extractive industries for Oxfam America, wrote a column about progress on transparency in Australia, Canada and the UK, but not the US.

United States: Pennsylvania state agencies that permanently delete emails after five days are not violating the Right to Know Law, a judge rules, according to an article by Jeff Hawkes in Lancaster Online.

United States: The Center on Privacy and Technology of Georgetown University Law Center, posts video of a conference on the Privacy Act and the FOIA here.

United States: See video of an event commemorating the fifth anniversary of the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

OGP Research: The OGP has issued a call for proposals for “a research assignment to answer the question: “Describe how governments in OGP participating countries have interacted with civil society on OGP and analyse if factors be distilled that are crucial for success or failure?”

Corporate Transparency: New guidance will enable national governments to implement “challenging” recommendations on transparency and beneficial ownership, its publisher the global standards-setting body the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has said, according to an article on

Surveillance Transparency: A post on the blog of the Centre for Democracy & Technology describes a preliminary set of specific, actionable criteria for transparency” around the requests that governments make of companies to hand over personal data or restrict content online, developed with the Global Network Initiative.

Georgia: The Supreme Court of Georgia says quarterly data on secret surveillance has to be published proactively on the website of the Supreme Court of Georgia. For more look here.

United Kingdom: The Online Journalism blog post discusses FOI requests from businesses.

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