Finally: Open Company Data!
Today, together with OpenCorporates, we make information from the German company register and its announcements accessible as open data on OffeneRegister.de. For the first time, data such as the registered office, legal form and authorised representatives of 5.1 million German companies, foundations and associations are openly and freely available on the Internet.
On the website, the data can be searched centrally, downloaded and reused via the programming interface (API). Reprints from the commercial register, for which handelsregister.de charges fees, are not included in the data.
In theory, the register data are also accessible on the official website handelsregister.de. However, the usage regulations of the Ministry of Justice of North Rhine-Westphalia are extremely restrictive. In addition, the search function of the website is hardly usable and the data quality at times inadequate.
The federal government must act now!
All data from the company and beneficial ownership registry must also be published as open data by the federal and state governments. Charging for information is outdated. Open data enables civil society and investigative media to uncover corruption, as research by Correctiv, Süddeutsche Zeitung and NDR shows. They strengthen the common good and enable companies to improve compliance and risk assessment. Great Britain is leading the way and has published an open beneficial ownership registry including company data since 2016.
The Federal Ministry of Justice must now work together with NGOs to improve the poor data quality. For example, an analysis of the data showed that the Berlin-Charlottenburg registry court itself has 15 different, sometimes incorrect entries in the database. Furthermore, there are no fixed identifiers for organisations. If a company moves to another federal state, it receives a new ID from the registration court there. This makes the tracking of companies considerably more difficult.
Press contact: Arne Semsrott, firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel. 030 57703666 0
Foto: Hamburg. Speicherstadt von Max Stolbinsky under CC By 2.0