The Network

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The Network

Hungría
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Budget: 
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Connecting governmentel data with crowd-sourced materials and thus creating the complete network of a country's elite.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Non-transparent economic and political relationships, interest groups and networks in Hungary strengthen the chance of dubious spending of taxpayer’s money, make it more difficult for investigative journalists to get to the core of special cases and deepen the desperate feeling and apathy of society in general. There’s a big need for resources that make relationships more transparent as well as motives of economic and political decisions more comprehensible and traceable. Information used is publicly available one-by-one, but are too complex and difficult and thus unable to show the interlocking behind the scenes. Elaborating this information takes a long time and energy and most journalists cannot afford themselves to “sit” on a case for too long. Our target groups are investigative journalists, researchers and NGOs, voters, companies, law enforcement agencies, decision-makers and interested Internet-user citizens. The size of the community we want to engage: - Internet-users who'll visit our database (around 2000-3000 unique visitors a day, Hungary has 10 million inhabitants, around 2-3 uploads a day); - Investigative journalists (30-40)

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Our database intends to provide the public with an independent, comprehensive source of information on spending the public purse in Hungary by developing a database and a network map of the Hungarian political and economic elite. Data will be provided partly by the NGOs (IT robots and human data-collecting - already financed) and partly by Internet-user citizens through different communication devices. Our aim is to make it possible for journalists, voters, researchers, investors and other interested users to filter and adjust more diversified, transparent and easily searchable information about the country’s politicians, businesspeople, their relationships and transactions as well as make it possible for Hungarian citizens to upload and receive information about their elite (photos, stories, documents, etc.). Data uploaded by citizens will be connections, contracts, relationships, friendships, stories, rumours (photos, documents, stories sent through email, mobile phones, etc). In cases of unverifiable but relevant information, we’ll develop a secondary database available only for invited investigative journalists. There is no database so far in Hungary that would collect information concerning the relationships of the political and economic spheres’ actors. We'll establish a database that relies both on available but hardly searchable data as well as on information coming from citizens – in this respect, our project is unique at international level as well since it combines governmental data with crowd-sourcing techniques in a unique and promising way.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

We'll develop a database and a network map which will contain: • Transactions: public procurements, EU funds and agricultural subsidies in Hungary • Personal database: profile of Hungarian politicians and businesspeople • Company database: profile of Hungarian companies receiving public funds • Party database: profile of Hungarian parliamentary parties • Crowd-sourcing surface: web2 tools for citizens • Several adjustable network maps: downloadable and extraxtable maps and social network matrices on the connections between the ruling elite based on all the information in the database Monitored data will be the following: the public procurement database, NGO database, company database, EU funds database, agricultural funds database of Hungary monitored by IT robots. Privatization procedures, personal information and networks monitored by humans. (Data collection from articles, CVs, etc.) Data will be updated regularly. Data uploaded by citizens will be the following: connections, contracts, relationships, friendships, stories, rumours (photos, documents, own stories sent through email, mobile phones, etc). The database will be open source and reproducible in other countries as well. We've already started to develop the website from other financial resources. Our goal is to get a co-financing for the development of web2 tools and appealing data visualizations which make citizens interested and active in uploading their own materials.
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Major anti-corruption NGOs, investigative journalists and researchers of Hungary are already involved in the project in a way and all of them tries to do its best to make the project come true. K-Monitor has also contacted several foreign NGOs and projects working in the same field (Sunlight Foundation, LittleSis, Open Knowledge Foundation, Access Info Europe) in order to receive relevant information and learn good practices. In this phase, the project has only got supporters. Still, we believe that competition would do good to the cause in the long run, especially if Hungarian authorities (dealing for example with public procurement and other tender information) would realize the importance and necessity of transparent and easily accessible data formats.
About You
Organization:
K-Monitor Watchdog for Public Funds
About You
First Name

Sandor

Last Name

Lederer

Twitter URL
Facebook URL
About Your Organization
Organization Name

K-Monitor Watchdog for Public Funds

Organization Country

, BU

Country where this project is creating social impact

, BU

How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

The information you provide here will be used to fill in any parts of your profile that have been left blank, such as interests, organization information, and website. No contact information will be made public. Please uncheck here if you do not want this to happen..

Innovation
Select the stage that best applies to your solution

Start-Up (a pilot that has just begun operating)

How long have you been in operation?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Social Impact
FOUNDING STORY: We want to hear about your “Aha!” moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution’s potential to change the world.

Our idea is shaped by the everyday experience of existing community sites. On these sites you can see how interactions are formed beetwen people: first becoming acquaintances and later – even if working in separate sectors – helping each other in career progress. That is very similar to public life! We want to show the background of political and business decision-making: why did the mayors son's firm got the contract for communal waste transport? Why did the MP's nephew win all the EU tenders in the constituency? Our idea arose from the idea of living and making decisions in a social network - no matter what the scale is.

Specify both the depth and scale of your solution’s social impact to date

Up till now, our project is in the development phase and we've managed to get a funding for the first part of the database, namely the IT robots only. These robots have already downloaded thousands of pubic contracts and transactions, company information, NGO information, etc. We've also elaborated network visualization programs which make it easier for users to see through the data. Our aim is to get a co-funding which helps us develop a web2 platform for citizens and involve them not only in gathering information but also in analyzing it.

The database and the network maps will be launched in early October and thus we have no reliable information about the possible effects of our project however. However we have various ideas described in the next session.

What is your projected impact within the next 1-5 years? Is your idea replicable? If so, how?

Such a database will provide the society with crucial public information for the purpose of having an overview of political decision making in Hungary. Publicity of the decision makers’ network has a strong dissuasive effect which in the long run creates a clearer and fairer public sphere.

Actors involved in the process of decision-making might behave in four different ways. 1, they cease their dubious interlocking, 2, withdraw from the market because of decreased possibilities, 3, start the same transactions more cautiously or 4, continue behaving the same way.

The database will be open source and reproducible in other countries as well. It's our strong intention to contact foreign NGOs and journalist's associations in order to replicate the project elsewhere.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and mark growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

Launching the Network database

Six-Month Tasks
Task 1

Building the infrastructure

Task 2

Making it public and well known

Task 3

Analyzing feedbacks

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

Crowd-sourcing, going international

12-Month Tasks
Task 1

Involving users, citizens

Task 2

Analyzing content

Task 3

Involving long-term partners/supporters, international partners

How many people have been impacted by your project?

Fewer than 100

How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?

More than 10,000

Sustainability
Explain how your company, program, service or product is structured

Hybrid model

What barriers have hindered the success of your project to date? How do you plan to overcome these and other challenges as you grow your solution?

Possible problems arise from privacy and defamation issues, as well as in case of changing IT sources or the assessment of information difficult to verify. Legal experts have already elaborated the most reliable data protection policy. The IT format of sources will be checked regularly, and in case of changing sources, we’ll develop new robots.

Most of the data gathered by us are information of public interest and therefore available for everyone. Every other information (e.g. unverifiable anecdotes from media reports, information leaked by anonym whistleblowers or suspected transactions that cannot be checked) will be controlled and classified and in cases of unverifiable but relevant information, we’re developing a secondary database available only for investigative journalists.

How do you see the information-technology and media sectors shifting over the next decade? How will your solution adapt to and/or drive that changing environment?

Community media is getting more important, while proffessional journalism looses its weight. Media consumption won't be dominated by big news companies, newspapers but from the demand that arises from each and every reader. Our project aims to involve people collecting and sorting information about transactions and institutions they are familiar with, and share them with those who are interrested. It's like a global puzzle: everybody puts its little part of information together to get the map of information, a more detailed picture of our public life.

Failure is not always an option. If your solution fails to gain traction in the next two years, what other applications of the idea could you explore?

Since the database is partly updated automatically, this function will work even if the project lacks sufficient user-involvement. Furthermore, our technology may also be used for similar applications in other countries and regions and be adopted to serve regional demands.

Different payment services might be launched with professional data and network analysis in order to raise funds for further developments.

The web2 platform could also serve as a basis for other community journalists and thus users already involved might keep on working togehter on other topics if problems with the database arise.

The basic database gives researchers the possibility to study the map of Hungarian decisionmakers and the elite, and even if for some reason it is not updated later, it gives a good picture of a fix period of time.

The establishment of such a database makes a big difference in public life (especially in the field of transparency), and thus even the failure of the project will make people realize the importance of such services and may induce new transparency and communitiy media projects.

Expand on your selections, explaining how you will sustain funding

K-Monitor has already elaborated a systematic database maintenance method for its current website and article-database (www.k-monitor.hu). After the initial research, data collection and IT work, the new website is going to be maintained by the editors of K-monitor’s current database, many of whom work as a volunteer and thus there's no need for further funding. The NGOs managin the project integrate the minimum monitoring tasks into their everyday work.

The company providing us with company registry information charges us nothing since the project might generate attractive publicity for them and they intend to get involved in a non-profit action. The open source format can help to make the IT robots stay up-to-date.

Tell us about your partnerships

Project management, researches, policy work will be implemented by K-Monitor Association, Hungarian Civil Liberties Union and Transparency International Hungary, Hungary's main anti-corruption NGOs.
Amitaba-Mudra Ltd is our contracted IT partner (a progressive and professional IT company working on several open source projects) and we're also in close working relationship with researchers and investigative journalists of high reputation (Index.hu, origo, HVG, Figyelőnet, etc).

What type of team (staff, volunteers, etc.) will ensure that you achieve the growth milestones identified in the Social Impact section?

Basic development requires an IT staff of 2-3 persons and a project management of 3 persons. (Editor, lawyer, project manager.) We also need 4-5 persons (volunteers) to clear the large amount of data from mistakes.
In the long run, when downloading the data gets automatic and users start to upload their information, the project needs a small team (1 project manager and 2-3 volunteers) to constantly monitor data and clear it.

Changemakers is a collaborative and supportive space. Please specify any community resources you would need to grow and sustain your initiative. Select all that apply

Investment, Human resources or talent, Marketing or media, Research or information, Collaboration or networking, Innovation or ideas.

Specify any resources you might offer to support other initiatives. Select all that apply

Human resources or talent, Marketing or media, Research or information, Collaboration or networking, Innovation or ideas, Mentorship.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren’t specified within the list
Summary
Define your company, program, service or product in 1-2 short sentences

The Network is a comprehensive source of information on spending the public funds in Hungary based on different data sources.