Panama Papers – Shake That Money Maker

ICIJ to Release Panama Papers Offshore Companies Data by Marina Walker Guevara.

From the post:

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists will release on May 9 a searchable database with information on more than 200,000 offshore entities that are part of the Panama Papers investigation.

While the database opens up a world that has never been revealed on such a massive scale, the application will not be a “data dump” of the original documents – it will be a careful release of basic corporate information .

ICIJ won’t release personal data en masse; the database will not include records of bank accounts and financial transactions, emails and other correspondence, passports and telephone numbers. The selected and limited information is being published in the public interest.

Meanwhile ICIJ, the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung which received the leak, and other global media partners, including several new outlets in countries where ICIJ has not been able to report, will continue to investigate and publish stories in the weeks and months to come. (emphasis added)

A teaser from ICIJ.

ICIJ is shaking the Panama Papers as a money maker.

Here a video depiction:

I don’t object to ICIJ and its 400 or so blessed journalists making money from the Panama Papers.

A lot of money has been invested in making the data dump useful and profits here will support more investigations in the future.

Admitting profit is driving the concealment of the Panama Papers enables a rational discussion on releasing the data dump.

For example, when law enforcement authorities request copies of data relevant to their jurisdictions, they should have to pay for the research to segregate and package those files, along with agreements to not post publicly post them for some set time.

In terms of public access, Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ)/ICIJ has had these documents for more than a year. Two years from the first publication, how much low-lying fruit could be left? Especially given the need to re-process the raw data to explore it.

Reasonable profits are necessary and just, hoarding (think monopoly/anti-trust) and avoiding accountability are not.

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