About this project

OpenSanctions is an international database of persons and companies of political, criminal, or economic interest.

The project combines the sanctions lists, databases of politically exposed persons, and other information about persons in the public interest into a single, easy-to-use dataset. This makes it easy to:

  • Cross-check databases for conflicts of interests and signs of illicit activity.
  • Screen potential customers and partners in international dealings.
  • Track political conflicts and compare national sanctions policies.
  • Integrate the sanctions and persons of interest graph into existing data products.

What makes OpenSanctions different?

  • Comprehensive coverage: we bring together data from 50+ data sources and from around the world into a single dataset that combines sanctions, PEPs and crime-related entities.
  • Focus on data quality: the dataset is carefully cleaned, including a human-in-the-loop process for entity de-duplication across lists, and thousands of hand-crafted data patches that structure identifying information like birth dates, countries, addresses or tax identifiers in a consistent way.
  • Bulk data for everybody: we make our raw data easy to access, enabling use cases that require access to the full archive (instead of an entity-by-entity API), and even empowering our customers to self-host our API server inside their own infrastructure.
  • Auditable and open source: anyone can verify how OpenSanctions works by browsing the source code, highlight issues, suggest changes, and propose improvements.

The rationale

Collecting persons of interest data is a labour intensive process, including data cleaning and quality assurance. This creates unnecessary and duplicative work for all users of persons-of-interest data, whether they are fintech/regtech technologists, investigative journalists, academics or others.

We believe that the solution to this is to establish a data commons, an open resource that provides high-quality, up-to-date data, is open to feedback and set up to provide a long-term solution for data sourcing.

Team

The development of OpenSanctions is coordinated by Friedrich Lindenberg. From 2017 to 2019, maintenance of the crawlers was assumed by Tarashish Mishra at the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project. You can see a list of those who have contributed crawlers on Github.

We'd also like to thank Marc da Costa, Paul May and Tony Bowden for their tireless advice on the project.

Funding

From September 2021 to Feburary 2022, the project received financial support from the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF) under the grant identifier 01IS21S48. The full responsibility for the content of this publication remains with its authors.

Got more questions? Join the Slack chat to ask questions and get support. You can also book an hour of consulting time to discuss technical questions with the team.