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Categorising barriers to transparency - an ACT discussion paper

Today we are releasing a paper intended to provoke discussion about "barriers" to transparency.


By "barriers", we refer to perceived or actual risks that can prevent or inhibit information disclosure, especially under enhanced transparency and disclosure regimes being voluntarily assumed or compulsorily imposed on companies. The barriers we identify can equally apply to governments with a view to government transparency, with some modification.


Access the paper

You can access the paper by clicking the image (or here).


The paper defines a set of categories to describe barriers to transparency. The categories are set in order to promote a systematic approach to considering how tech companies, regulators, investors and others might minimise or avoid barriers to transparency and information disclosure. This should help them to enhance transparency while minimising associated risks and protecting human rights.


Through a consistent set of categories, we hope the paper will give readers the tools to:

  1. Communicate more effectively: Categorising barriers can enhance clarity in communication and make it more effective.

  2. Treat like barriers alike: Categorising barriers helps with treating comparable barriers similarly (and vice versa). This has benefits for fairness, efficiency, and consistency in both legal and operational decision-making.

  3. Make general recommendations: Categorising barriers should enable recommendations that can be general in nature, rather than being tied too closely to specifics.

  4. Create more useful case studies: Systematically collecting examples of specific barriers and how they have been mitigated or resolved will be an effective way to determine and share best practices.

Call for input and feedback


We are eager to gather feedback on the categories we have proposed and examples of specific barriers to transparency from readers. You can submit feedback on the categories here.

You can also submit examples of barriers to transparency here to help build understanding about specific barriers and how they might be mitigated.


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