European Parliament strongly recommends any software developed by and for the EU institutions to be made publicly available under Free and Open Source Software licence

Fotka od Gerd Altmann z Pixabay

Brussels, 15/5/2020 – Yesterday, in plenary, the European Parliament endorsed a number of budgetary discharge reports, which include Pirate amendmentsurging EU institutions to predominantly use Open Source solutions. This success happened despite the joint effort of the EPP and ECR Groups to strike out these essential parts of the reports. In practice, from now on, all IT solutionsdeveloped by and for the EU institutions willfirst needto beassessed against the possibility of using Open Source solutions. Assessments will then have to be reported back to the Budgetary Control Committee of the Parliament on an annual basis, during the discharge procedure. This is a strong call for enhancing our important citizens right to transparent and trustworthy information.

“It’s a milestone for transparent and open digitization of the European institutions. From now on, the Open Source ecosystem has a stepping ground for offering Open Source solutions and the Pirates will gladly play the role of the guardians and will try to solve and highlight any attempt to bypass this strong recommendation. It’s a really important step to remove vendor lock-ins in the Parliament“, says Pirate Vice-President of European Parliament Marcel Kolaja.

“Open Source Software improves transparency and trust from citizens, as information is published in open and machine-readable formats, so that everyone can access, comment and re-use it to drive value. It also provides access to the source code, which enables public participation and scrutiny of the presentation and analysis methods,“ comments Pirate MEP Mikuláš Peksa.

It is essential for the European institutions to retain control over its own technical systems, especially in a context of disinformation and foreign interference. Open Source promotes local technical support, leads to rapid development of software and helps to avoid dependency on specific suppliers or vendor lock-in effects, which exist when only one company is in charge of software or even the entire IT infrastructure supply.

Open Source Software also has potential for security improvements because it permits the identification and the fixing of weaknesses in a transparent and collaborative manner, while making it more difficult for hackers to introduce malware in the system.

Finally, publicly financed software developed for the public sector should be made publicly available under a Free and Open Source Software licence. If it is public money, it should be public code as well. Free and Open Source Software gives everybody the right to use, study, share, and improve software. This right helps support other fundamental freedoms like freedom of speech, press, and privacy.

Full text of the Free and Open Source Software related parts of the European Parliament discharge report 2018:

§48Recognises that the production of public data under open, machine-readable format, easily accessible and re-usable, offers great opportunities both for transparency towards the public and innovation; welcomes the current initiatives to create and convert part of its data that are of interest to the public under that format; underlines the need to have a more user-friendly, systematic and coordinated approach for such initiatives, under a well-defined Parliament open data policy;
§49Recognises the added value that free and open source software can bring to Parliament; underlines in particular their role in increasing transparency and avoiding vendor lock-in effects; recognises also their potential for security improvements as they permit to identify and fix the weaknesses; strongly recommends any software developed for the institution to be made publicly available under free and open-source software licence;
§50Notes that the results of roll-call votes in plenary should be available in an open, machine-readable format and easily visible on Parliament’s website; calls on Parliament therefore to publish the machine-readable version of the roll-call vote results next to the non-machine-readable versions, on the plenary minutes’ webpage;
§79and further encourages the use of free open-sources self-hosted social network platforms having special regards to users’ data protection;

Source of this article:

Leave a Comment