The Province of PEI has modified its online Corporate Registry so that details of individual corporations are no longer exposed to search engines — there’s a new “are you human” check on the site, with the note:

Details of registrations in the Corporate Registry are available to the public. A security feature of this online service requires a key code authorization. To view details on any specific registration, please enter the key code below.

I will leave it to others to debate the merits of this move on the Province’s part, but the practical result of the change is that I’ll have to shutter the service shortly, as without the ability to spider the Corporate Register the corporations information there, which is already almost three weeks out of date, would soon become unreasonably inaccurate.

I’ll leave OpenCorporations online until mid-week and then shut things down. I’ll continue to make the spider source code, and the raw data spidered on November 19, 2008 available for download.

Over the week that OpenCorporations has been live there have been over 150,000 searches from 2,100 unique visitors, the vast majority of them from Prince Edward Island. On average each visitor visited 46 pages, and spent 10 minutes on the site.

Of somewhat ironic interest, some of the most frequent users of were within the Government of PEI network (3,927 searches), the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (2,016 searches) and Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (1,057 searches).


Leo's picture
Leo on December 7, 2008 - 23:05 Permalink

I think this new change on part of government illustrates that we have one of the most secretive governments in Canada and begs the question what are they trying to hide? I am disgusted at this move by government to remove access to information which should be available to the public. I think this issue should be raised both within the Legislature and outside as it seems that this government is not commmitted to freedowm of information.

JD's picture
JD on December 8, 2008 - 07:41 Permalink

This without a doubt is the proof that ALL Islanders needed to prove that this Immigrant Money Scandal is HUGE.

Now you have the Government making it difficult for the Voters to search for information on a Public Website. ( is paid for by the taxpayer)

This is most certainly a much bigger scandal than even the most ardent Liberal can imagine.

What I have personally seen through this website makes me quickly realize there was many questionable activities done by this Government with this Immigrant Fund Program.

One has to ask why this Government would be trying to hide public information from the public unless there is something shady going on.

This Government & Premier without a doubt HAS TO GO. Sooner rather than later.

oliver's picture
oliver on December 8, 2008 - 15:07 Permalink

Is obstructing search a new use of captchas? I thought they were to block bots from writing not reading. Anyway, I hope some serious brouhaha kicks up. It’s hard to think of a good reason for them to do this and all too easy to think of stupid, insidious and/or malevolent ones.

oliver's picture
oliver on December 8, 2008 - 15:39 Permalink

Actually this reminds me that land title is supposedly public information in the U.S. but as recently as a couple years ago I know you had to go to the registrars office or pay others to look up even just the single parcel under a house you want to buy. I suppose the argument for restricting access is that there can be pieces of paper on file that only superficially resolve the question of who holds title on the land, and that property law is highly technical, and so on both those accounts and for the welfare of the public the release of this “public” information has to be through a licensed professional (and we’ll just rely on free enterprise to ensure there’s enough such people around to meet demand). Likewise there’s information about medical, bio and nuclear engineering that’s “public” but by a benevolent conspiracy doesn’t disseminate freely. But I’m inclined to view the law and governance as special. Things we’re bound to obey and abide ought to be obvious and intelligible, and I see it as part of the job of legislatures to update and reform the laws to keep things so. After a century of anarchic lawyering and reinterpretation by judges, it’s a miracle if any policy would remain satisfactory to the people who created it, let alone their successors or the people on whose authority they act.

Jevon's picture
Jevon on December 8, 2008 - 15:47 Permalink

The captcha they are using is a major accessibility obstacle. Anyone with poor vision would effectively be denied access to this data.

Does the provincial government not have accessibility standards for access to information?

Leo's picture
Leo on December 8, 2008 - 17:09 Permalink

I guess they are saying it is accessible but Not “Very accessible”

Rob L.'s picture
Rob L. on December 8, 2008 - 19:56 Permalink

Paul MacNeil appears to be first in the media mainstream to jump on this story.

Rob L.'s picture
Rob L. on December 8, 2008 - 20:19 Permalink

Spoke to soon.

Rob L.'s picture
Rob L. on December 8, 2008 - 20:20 Permalink

With typos tooo.

Ashley Johnston's picture
Ashley Johnston on December 9, 2008 - 01:13 Permalink

Is there any chance we can find out more specifically who is responsible, more specific than ‘the government’.

It is an obvious attack on the transparency of public information. I’m ready to raise hell.

Adam Drake's picture
Adam Drake on December 9, 2008 - 10:38 Permalink

Ya know, if for once government was open and transparent, humblein the face of a mistake, earnest in their desire to do better for us.I think they might stay in a while. There must be an ego altering mold in the duct work at the Jones and Shaw buildings. It seems like sooner or later, the occupants catch it

John's picture
John on December 10, 2008 - 01:48 Permalink

At first I thought perhaps the government made the wrong move but I’ve changed my mind…Kudos to government, this is a corporate registry, not a personal registry.

If this registry blocked out the ability to search for people, I think it’d be less of an issue.

Union's picture
Union on December 10, 2008 - 19:21 Permalink

Well the truth is in the pudding. If it smells and looks like something fishy is going on, then people are likely right. Bonuses, deputies & MLA’s accessing the PNP — “oh, I got it when I was not a deputy or an MLA” — Yeah, sure is that why there is likely a cabinet shuffle, a shuffle of deputies, or some heads may roll? That smells fishy and I guess the next to roll is during the investigations, th epress will be rolling then. You know what happens with Dominos — watch them fall. Power you say — maybe.

atlas's picture
atlas on April 5, 2010 - 00:24 Permalink

I am glad that people are stepping up and doing something about it.