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Gates: The net helps bring down sleaze

Bill Gates speaking at CES 2008

Bill Gates has spoken out about the internet’s effect on government transparency, singling out the Nordic countries for praise.

"The Nordic countries, with Sweden and Denmark, have really taken it to an amazing level," Gates said in a speech in Miami. Reuters reports that Gates was trying to express how governmental openness has been helped by the huge growth of the amount of information available online .

"Whenever a (Nordic cabinet) minister goes out to lunch, you can see how much he spent for lunch and how much on the cab. It literally goes up [online] within a few hours." In some countries ministers’ calendars are even available online, something Gates called “phenomenal”.

He criticised the US government for cluttering its internet-based information with complex language and poor navigability.

Gates is nearing his step-down date as chairman of Microsoft. He will hang up his keyboard in June and begin full time work for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.