MAKING GOVERNMENT DATA USEABLE
Press Release Link: http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=15381
San Francisco, CA - CorpWatch.org, with support from the Sunlight Foundation, announces release of the CrocTail application and open CorpWatch API.
CrocTail provides an interface for browsing information about several hundred thousand U.S. publicly traded corporations and their many foreign and domestic subsidiaries. Information from company Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings has been parsed and annotated by CorpWatch to highlight specific corporate accountability issues. CrocTail also serves as a demonstration of the features and data available through the CorpWatch API.
CrocTail is an extension of the Crocodyl.org Wiki web site project, an online compendium profiling the accountability and transparency track records of multinational corporations.
"The CrocTail application has particular relevance at this moment, with the public eye focused on the structural nature of corporate abuses, including multinational tax-avoidance and the use of off-shore subsidiaries to evade responsibility for human rights violations," said Tonya Hennessey, project director at CorpWatch. "In the most egregious cases, corporations use subsidiaries to cloud their investments in dictatorships and violent regimes. Chevron in Burma and Marathon Oil in Equatorial Guinea are two examples."
One of the goals of the project is to make it transparently easy for users to research the structure of corporations and pinpoint where they operate.
By visiting CrocTail, users can search the entire subsidiaries database; and see a window displaying known issues with subsidiaries, direct links to the root SEC filings, and links to the Crocodyl.org profile; a world map pinpointing subsidiary locations; and an expandable subsidiary tree for navigating the hierarchy. (Click on Halliburton Co for an example.) The site also has an edit mode, making it possible for registered researchers to add value by tagging subsidiaries with issues notes which will be automatically linked to the parent company profiles.
What does the CorpWatch API do that the SEC doesn't?
Although the SEC provides a search interface for locating company filings (EDGAR / IDEA), the subsidiary information is not standardized. The CorpWatch developers wrote parsers to "scrape" the subsidiary relationship information from Exhibit 21 of the 10-K filings, and then built an "API" (Application Programming Interface) to provide a well-structured interface for web programs to query and process the subsidiary data.
Coded by Skye Bender-deMoll and Greg Michalec, the CorpWatch API is available free to anyone who registers and abides by the Terms of Service. Using the API requires enough programming knowledge to be able to parse JSON or XML. For more information visit: http://api.corpwatch.org.
CorpWatch is a non-profit organization dedicated to investigative research and journalism to expose corporate malfeasance and to advocate for multinational corporate accountability and transparency. We seek to expose multinational corporations that that profit from war, fraud, environmental, human rights and other abuses, and to provide critical information to foster a more informed public and an effective democracy.
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