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Friday, April 1 • 12:00pm - 1:15pm
The Transparency Reporting Toolkit: A Guide and Template for Best Practices in Reporting

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New America’s Open Technology Institute and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University have spent the past year collecting and analyzing transparency reports released by over 40 of the largest U.S. Internet and telecommunications companies. The number of companies publishing “transparency reports” about their handling of government requests for user data skyrocketed as the Internet industry scrambled to rebuild lost trust in the wake of the Snowden revelations. But that explosion of reports led to a fragmentation of practices: there are no clear standards or best practices for startups and smaller companies looking to get into the game, and the data from companies that are currently reporting are a mess of apples and oranges, using different standards and definitions, and are therefore hard to compare or combine in a sensible way.

Together, OTI and the Berkman Center authored an eight-part memo that surveys the current landscape of transparency reporting and identifies best practices, highlighting issues where standardization of practices is most critical, such as terminology and categorization of legal processes. Using those best practices we created a guide to transparency reporting and a template for presenting report data in an easy-to-digest and standardized format. At RightsCon we will publicly launch and seek feedback on the reporting guide and template, encourage adoption of best practices, and speak with companies, civil society, and other stakeholders about the future of transparency reporting. We will also highlight the forthcoming and final piece of the Transparency Reporting Toolkit, set to launch in 2016: an online portal that promotes standardized transparency reporting and serves as a public repository for report data.

The overarching goal of the Transparency Reporting Toolkit is to strengthen transparency reporting and grow the community of reporters. We aim to do this first by making the process as easy as possible for new companies hoping to publish their first transparency reports, and second, by encouraging adoption of best practices. By settling on key terminology, definitions, and categorization, we can begin to unify reporting and make it possible to truly compare “apples to apples” across the transparency report ecosystem.

avatar for Ryan Budish

Ryan Budish

Senior Researcher, Berkman Center for Internet & Society
avatar for Liz Woolery

Liz Woolery

Open Technology Institute

Friday April 1, 2016 12:00pm - 1:15pm
The Nest

Attendees (49)