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On Monday, WhoControlsIt held the first, mini-hackday to improve and iterate the open-source proof-of-concept global beneficial ownership register.

We didn’t set lofty goals for the work – invited only a small bunch of people, many (though not all) we knew from previous transparency work, but none of whom had looked at the code before. Would we get anything done, or need to spend ages explaining the concept, data model and code. Would they have difficulties in installing the required software?

In the end, we needn’t have worried – we achieved all our goals and then some, and WhoControlsIt is significantly further along the road to a Global Beneficial Ownership register.

So here’s what we achieved:
Added more sample data, specifically some real live Beneficial Ownership Data from the Democratic Repubiic of Congo’s Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative report (the first we’ve found, although we’ve since come across a similar report for the Cameroon
Added a variety of control types to existing ‘Shareholding’ type, including ‘VotingRights’, ‘Nominee’, ‘TrustBeneficiary’, ‘MajorityOfDirectors’, ‘OtherRelationship’. Each type has potential properties, and fields are populated automatically, making it easy to add control types and properties
Completely rewrote the graph code,massively improving it, including a new constraint-based display algorithm that positions
Started an RDF ontology of control relationships
Loads of view tweaks and bug fixes
Added/fixed tests

Thanks to David, Friedrich, Dan, Elf, to Transparency International for hosting, and Global Witness for providing the food, and Hera for organising it all.

Do play around with the site, and if you want to contribute, head over to https://github.com/openc/WhoControlsIt and join the fun.

You can find out more about why creating Who Controls It is important here.

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