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New iPhone App Allows Reporting of Bribes in Russia

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, October 9 2012

Screenshot from Bribr website.

A group of Russian entrepreneurs have released an iPhone application that encourages the reporting of bribes, the Moscow Times reported.

The development of the application, called Bribr, was led by Yevgenia Kuida, 25, a former senior editor at culture magazine Afisha, and includes an online map that shows reports of bribes.

The map currently has about seven markers, and an indicator of 42 cases in the Moscow area.

Users can indicate how much money was paid, to whom, for what and where, the Moscow Times reported. The application lets users choose from a possible list of officials, such as health inspectors and university administrators, and then suggests what action, appropriate to the profession, they could be bribed for.

According to Kuida, a team of 20 volunteers are adapting the application to encourage reporting of bribes, for example by adding a new feature that allows users to tell their stories and distributing symbolic "zero ruble" banknotes.

The application has received endorsements online from prominent Russian activists like Alexei Navalny, who is currently faces five years in jail for embezzlement, in what is widely perceived as a politically motivated case. Navalny tweeted that he thought the application was "cool."

Russia ranked 143 out of 183 countries on Transparency International 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index, the Moscow Times notes. Yelena Panfilova from TI suggested to the Moscow Times that the application might not be effective if there were no consequences for being caught in an act of corruption. "People who report corruption fall into two categories. The first do it for fun, while the second category, the majority, want to see results," she said, according to the Moscow Times. If users do not see bribed officials being punished, they could be discouraged from reporting corruption, she suggested.

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