[OpenSpending] How Spending Stories Fact Checks Big Brother: the Wiretappers’ Ball
lucy.chambers at okfn.org
Mon Feb 27 09:00:41 GMT 2012
Thought you might be interested in reading about an innovative use of
OpenSpending.org which could prove interesting for journalists.
*Privacy International* recently approached the *Spending Stories* team to
ask for a search widget to be able to search across all of the government
spending datasets held in OpenSpending. They had a list of companies which
exhibited at the famous surveillance technology conferences in the US, the
so-called Wiretappers' Ball, as well as a list of attendees of the
Some attendees posed no surprises, the FBI, the US Drug Enforcement
Administration, the UK Serious Organized Crime Agency and Interpol to name
a few, but there are a few that are downright baffling, like the US
department of Commerce or the US Fish & Wildlife Service and Clark County
School District Police Department.
You can now search across all of the databases held in OpenSpending.org to
see which of these companies actually holds contracts with governments, and
follow up with suitable FOI procedures if necessary. There are only a few
hits in the OpenSpending database so far, but projects like this
demonstrate how useful it is to build up a unified, searchable database of
international government spending records, and the search is also likely to
be useful for other types of public procurement information.
*Help us build up the database and make this search even more powerful.
Have a local, national or international dataset you'd like to explore? Get
You can read more about the background to the story here:
It is also cross-posted on the PBS Mediashift Idealab:
The new data release by Privacy International was covered in the Guardian (
and the Wall Street Journal (
You can explore the data yourself on Privacy International's website:
I look forward to seeing many more uses of OpenSpending that we hadn't
OpenSpending & Data Journalism
Open Knowledge Foundation
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