Global corruption among those in power is a grave threat to democracy in both developed and developing countries. Corruption erodes public trust and makes government less effective. Around the world, bribes, fraud and other forms of corruption are estimated to cost economies trillions of dollars a year, undermining free markets, democracy and civil society.
Following the 2021 White House Summit for Democracy — a virtual gathering of global leaders that shined a brighter light on the corruption threat — the Alliance of Innovative Regulation (AIR) began a partnership with the U.S. State and Treasury departments on the Anti-corruption Solutions through Emerging Technologies (ASET) project.
ASET is an innovation accelerator aimed at providing digital tools to regulators, law enforcement and other corruption fighters to weaponize data and root out corrupt activity.
The accelerator is housed in the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) and backed by AIR’s expertise on innovation processes. ASET hosts TechSprints to identify technology solutions and incubate promising concepts with the goal of offering open-source implementation roadmaps to governments around the world.
A Large Global Event
5 sprint teams
5,000+ web visits
43 featured speakers
599 session registrants
AIR held the first in a series of ASET TechSprints along with the U.S. State and Treasury departments in 2022. The four-day event brought together leaders and experts in government, law enforcement, civil society, financial institutions, fintech, academia and the private sector for a problem-solving competition exploring new technologies to combat corruption.
Five teams designed prototype data analysis tools to improve transparency, due diligence and risk management in grant processes, disaster relief contracts, cargo shipments, mining and other corruption-prone sectors. Ideas leveraged a spectrum of technology, ranging from blockchains and smart contracts to satellite imaging of co. The event included webinars and culminated in speeches by anti-corruption leaders from around the world.
Stakeholders representing a diverse array of organizations — including the United Nations, Microsoft, MIT, Accountability Labs and LexisNexis — participated in the event.
The goals of the TechSprint were:
Three winning prototype solutions from the competition were presented to a panel of experts for further feedback and have entered an incubation process to further develop their ideas. The concepts include an expedited process to conduct due diligence of aid grantees’ applications, a platform using smart contracts and geospatial technology to monitor disaster relief projects, and a scorecard tool to assess relative risk of maritime cargo shipments.
AIR is working with the State and Treasury departments to advise them on which anti-corruption solutions show the most promise for further development. AIR and its government partners are planning a second anti-corruption TechSprint leveraging the key takeaways from the first.
Note: This initiative was funded by a grant from the United States Department of State. The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of AIR and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Department of State.
The White House announced select achievements during the “Year of Action” following the U.S. Summit for Democracy in December 2021, including AIR’s Anti-Corruption Solutions through Emerging Technologies (ASET) TechSprint.
AIR held the first of multiple TechSprints on new technologies to shine a light on global corruption. The events, held in concert with the State and Treasury departments, grew out of a White House initiative to promote democracy.
What are “techsprints?” Adapted from the hackathons invented by tech companies, TechSprints are events in which people with diverse knowledge from the public and private sector come together to ideate and co-create technology solutions for complex problems.
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