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Under the social networking giant's transparency push, political groups must register paid-for messages, which the tech company then tags as a sponsored message when people view these posts online. Yet researchers say Facebook's systems are only able to automatically label just over half of these political ads when groups do not disclose that they are paid-for partisan messages.

In one example of this limited oversight, POLITICO was able to find several political messages from the far-right Alternative for Germany that had been posted on Facebook and ran without such disclosures. Researchers add that groups are increasingly creating their own media organizations existing solely on Facebook's platforms to sway the online debate. The goal is to push out partisan messages which appear to be from legitimate media sources, while obscuring who is behind such online partisan posts. Ahead of last year's U. In the coming months, experts expect partisan operatives on both sides of the Atlantic to replicate such tactics, often relying on the ongoing problems with Facebook's political advertising transparency.

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That has raised concerns the public will still be unaware when they are targeted online with hyper-partisan views. Our expert journalism and suite of policy intelligence tools allow you to seamlessly search, track and understand the developments and stakeholders shaping EU Tech policy and driving decisions impacting your industry. Email pro politico. Log in to access content and manage your profile. If you do not have a login you can register here. Some 7, police were mobilized in anticipation of marches in French capital.

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Remember me. Britain regularly scores highly as a country free of corruption, usually ranking 8 to 10 in perceptions of corruption out of states covered worldwide. Nonetheless, organised networks of open government and anti-corruption activists have pushed for further reforms. This involved a commitment to a UK government-wide anti-corruption plan and, later, an anti-corruption strategy.

DfID have proved a high-profile champion. Devolved governments also have a series of openness initiatives in train.


Despite claims of being corruption free, problems persist. In Northern Ireland, a major scandal involving a Renewable Heat Incentive RHI scheme was uncovered in late , with severe political consequences for the government. The MeToo campaign following allegations of harassment in Hollywood extended to the UK and led to new independent procedures, introduced in July see below. Anti-corruption policies in business are complex to introduce, since business law has to be carefully tuned so as not to deter investment nor hinder UK success in international trade.

The opening up of UK dependencies and overseas territories that are tax havens, begun under David Cameron, is ongoing. There is a lack of government support and interest in promoting openness or anti-corruption in business. A number of key anti-corruption policies appeared to have slowed down or lost momentum. There is a general push for secrecy around Brexit, while a lack of UK resources and perhaps declining powers of scrutiny outside EU law may increase the potential for domestic corruption.

Future opportunities Future threats The ongoing Whitehall commitments under the Open Government Partnership, plus experiments at devolved government level, offer opportunities for more transparency and anti-corruption activities. Local government is often a site of openness experiments and the new metro mayors may also offer an opportunity here. Brexit will take time, energy and attention away from many other reforms.

Leaving the EU may also have adverse effects on particular pieces of previously operating openness legislation, especially over environmental disclosures and information.

A range of potential sources of political corruption, such as over expenses, lobbying and funding of party and referendum campaigns, have not yet been fully addressed. Behind the headlines, FOI is primarily a local tool, and around four in every five requests goes to local government: in an FOI request even led to the mass resignation of one village council. Although most requests are for micro-political or small issues, FOI has had some unexpected benefits, such as leading to an online postbox finder. The scope of the FOI law has also gradually expanded.

Since it has covered exam bodies and databases, and in the strategic rail authority came under FOI, owing to a change in its accounting designation. Changes were to be enshrined in a new code of practice issued under section 45 of the FOI Act. It was due in the summer of but was delayed, and was finally published in the summer of However, successive governments have not extended FOI to private sector contractors, despite manifesto pledges and promises to do so.

Recently evidence has accumulated of a slowdown in FOI responses across central government. This is probably a combination of austerity and a lack of staff but also dwindling enthusiasm and negative signals from above. There may also be a negative cycle at work whereby as more departments perform badly, so it becomes less likely that there will be any repercussions. Analysis by the BBC also pointed to a lack of action by the regulator.

Figure 2: The percentage of Freedom of Information requests where government departments refused a response, from third quarter to second quarter.

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Source: Institute for Government Whitehall Monitor, , p. In —17 the UK government proposed that fees should have to be paid for the second stage of FOI appeals which had previously been free. However, a ruling on a related issue over access to justice from the Supreme Court in July put this policy in doubt. In June, the draft Patient Safety Bill also sought to make secret certain investigations in hospitals.

Figure 3 shows that most Prime Ministers have been somewhat ambivalent about the Act. In his autobiography, Tony Blair famously bemoaned passing the law:. Though the evidence does not support this claim, it tells us much about how politicians see it. Despite repeated claims by politicians and officials, there is in fact little evidence that FOI is harming records or efficiency.

However, there appears to be growing resistance and avoidance at the top of government, strengthening in the course of — It differs slightly from the UK-wide law. As well as a reaction against FOI, there were a series a series of attempts to limit openness or control information more generally. Although there were independent judicial checks built into the Act, there was considerable national and international concern at the potentially wide-ranging powers it gave intelligence agencies.

In parallel, the Law Commission examined the possibility of strengthening the Official Secrets Act, which would, campaigners argued, make whistleblowing more difficult. This rapidly ran into media controversy for its flawed consultation processes and was put aside for further consideration until autumn see Chapter 3.


Transparency in public policy: Great Britain and the United States

Whitehall and local government has voluntarily published more of its data sets to allow private sector and civil society actors to analyse them, and potentially to develop new applications. The move aimed to help small businesses so they could see where opportunities for tendering might exist, and to give citizens oversight of what was being contracted on their behalf.

Figure 4 shows that while many central departments complied, publication remains patchy and was often late, perhaps falling off also in recent years. One key focus for open data is procurement. Successive governments have innovated with open contracts, publishing central and local government contracts according to the Open Contracting Standard.

It has also developed and subsequently re-developed the one-stop Contracts Finder website, a searchable database of public contracts.

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In the wake of the collapse of the large government contractor Carillion, one select committee called for greater published information about contracts and how procurement arrangements have worked or met its targets, while also suggesting coverage by FOI. Elsewhere across government, the Department for International Development DfID have used open data as part of their and anti-corruption strategy, creating a development tracker that allows users to see development spending around the world. Other open data commitments have fared less well.

A commitment to publishing local election results data according to a common standard proved slow-moving because of the need to carry with it local authorities. And an initiative to push for publication of election candidate diversity data under section of the Equalities Act, which would enable us to see any gender gap in those running for office, has been delayed repeatedly.

In April , digital policy and control of GDS was transferred to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport a department with a poor digital record in areas like libraries policies. DCNS is also not a core department unlike the Cabinet Office and there was further concern that the move would lead to a lessening of priority, especially with rapid ministerial turnover. There is also considerable movement on openness at the devolved level.

The Scottish government published a separate openness plan with commitments to more transparent budgets and greater local community involvement. The UK is rated highly by most international indexes on anti-corruption policies in government. For instance, the leading NGO, Transparency International, assigns it a score of 82 out of a maximum points and ranks it as the eighth least corrupt country globally. A strategy document to was published in but contained few specific new actions.