Data as the Currency of Democracy

Ian Steadman of Wired UK recently discussed a presentation offered by Chris Taggart of Open Corporates. Taggart stated, "A company isn't what we think of as a company… It's not a bricks and mortar thing. It's not even a multinational head office. They're thousands of legal entities connected in different ways. When Lehman Brothers went bankrupt, 2,985 different legal entities went bust. Why do companies structure themselves like that? Is it for fun? No, because they benefit for having these structures."

Steadman added, "Open Corporates is an online, free to use database which attempts to connect together the disparate legal entities which make up many of the biggest multinational companies in the world. Taggart, speaking at the Open Up! conference, explains that the reason for this is that 'it's a question of criminal behaviour'. The huge quantities of data held in databases on government company registries around the world are so opaque that it allows companies to easily evade the laws -- including tax laws -- of legal jurisdictions."

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Image: Courtesy Wired