Transparency refers to openness, communication, and Accountability. It is a metaphorical extension of the meaning a “transparent” object that can be seen through. Transparent procedures include open meetings, financial disclosure statements, freedom of information legislation, budgetary review, audits, etc.
Transparency is important to technoprogressive concepts such as the Participatory Panopticon. Emerging technologies may help lead to greatly increased transparency, as information becomes easier to record and collect. Transparency is important not only as a means of preventing corruption, but a means of preventing Global catastrophic risks by monitoring potentially dangerous research into Biotechnology, nanotechnology, and Artificial general intelligence.
Banking, Corporate, and Media Transparency
Banking transparency and disclosure of bank activities are suggested to prevent future banking crises, underground banking, unpublished accounts, money laundering, tax evasion, and other fraud.
Corporate transparency, a form of radical transparency, involves removing all barriers to free and easy public access to corporate, political and personal information and the laws, rules, social connivance and processes that protect corporations.
Media transparency is the concept of determining how and why information is conveyed. If the media and the public knows everything that happens in all authorities and administrations there will be questions, protests, and suggestions coming from media and the public. Transparency creates an everyday participation in the political processes by media and the public. One tool used to increase everyday participation in political processes is Freedom of Information legislation and requests.
In politics transparency is a means of holding public officials accountable and fighting corruption. When government meetings are open to the public, when budgets and financial statements may be reviewed by anyone, when laws, rules and decisions are open to discussion, they are seen as transparent and there is less opportunity for corruption.
In government, politics, ethics, business, management, law, economics, sociology, etc., transparency is the opposite of privacy; an activity is transparent if all information about it is open and freely available. Open government is the political doctrine which holds that the business of government and state administration should be opened at all levels to effective public scrutiny and oversight.
When military authorities classify their plans as secret, transparency is absent. This can be seen as either positive or negative; positive, because it can increase national security, negative, because it can lead to secrecy, corruption, and even military dictatorship.
Participative democracy, built on transparency and everyday participation, has been used officially in northern Europe for decades. It has officially been adopted as an ideal to strive for by the rest of EU. Many countries in the world still have older forms of democracy, or other forms of government.
Some organizations and networks, for example, the GNU/Linux community, insist that not only the ordinary information of interest to the community be made freely available, but that all (or nearly all) meta-levels of organizing and decision-making are also published. This is known as radical transparency.