The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark has released a report that focuses on the use of nascent technologies to combat corruption.
The ministry has explored various technologies including blockchain, big-data, e-governance, and crowdsourcing for fraud-prevention and mitigating political and administrative corruption.
Dubbed ‘Code to Integrity: Digital Avenues to Anti-corruption,’ the report was presented during the International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) in Copenhagen.
The report examines various use-cases on how digitization can be used in the fight against corruption. For example, trivial corruption such as bribes and sexual extortion leave no paper trail, making it extremely difficult to expose through tools such as open data.
Crowdsourcing can enable whistleblowing and complaints involving corruption,
Digitalization of public procurement and public services reduces opportunities for corruption in the digitalized parts of the process,
the report noted.
The report also focused on addressing the risks and dilemmas that follow when new technologies are applied.
The Role of Blockchain
Denmark believes that “blockchain can prevent corruption” and create “increased transparency” in financial transactions and administration of land ownership.
According to the detailed report, blockchain has the potential to be used as an ‘anti-corruption tool’ due to its ability to keep records securely and transparently. It can,
- Transfer resources efficiently and securely even to those who do not have a formal identity or a bank account.
- Secure the integrity of public documents, certificates, and records, thus limiting the scope for corruption.
- Put ownership records on a shared digital database, enabling people to claim their rights without depending on central authorities.
[Blockchain] eliminates the need for institutions whose main purpose is to validate transactions such as banks, land registries, accountants, registry of births and deaths, vehicle registration etc,
Another use could be the verification of certificates such as educational or medical credentials. A major problem in corruption is the corrosion of trust it creates, the report further noted,
Blockchain has the potential to restore trust in information and communications technology.