Publicly funded software has to result in public code

As the European Parliament elections approach, EDRi member Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) intensifies the efforts for the “Public Money? Public Code!” campaign. In January 2019, FSFE published a new brochure to serve as guidelines for decision-makers, explaining the fundamental benefits of public code.

Free Software for a Free Society

Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) is a simple but powerful idea. The four freedoms that users have when interacting with software − use, study, share and improve − empower other fundamental liberties, such as freedom of speech, freedom of press and the right to privacy. In fact, the digital sovereignty of public and private actors depends on software freedom.

Public administrations are important users and providers of software. They procure, fund and support the development of products and services that can affect large groups of people. However, when these endeavours do not involve Free Software, critical questions concerning security, efficiency, distribution of power, and transparency arise.

That is why FSFE informs decision makers such as politicians and civil servants on how to speed up the distribution and development of Free Software in public administration, as well as demanding appropriate legislation to insure that publicly funded software must become and remain public code.

Published in January 2019, the brochure “Public Money Public Code – Modernising Public Infrastructure with Free Software” compiles detailed and ready-to-use information about the multiple actions that can be implemented by public administrations in terms of modernising public digital infrastructure. Topics such as competition and vendor lock-in, security, procurement and international cooperation are discussed in a language the target audience understands. The publication combines the FSFE’s long-term experience with knowledge by leading experts in various areas of information and communications technology.

Public Money? Public Code!

There are many good incentives and reasons for decision makers to put publicly funded code under a Free Software licence: tax savings, transparency, and innovation – just to name a few. The FSFE’s campaign “Public Money? Public Code!” demands that publicly financed software must be available under a FOSS license.

The campaign includes an open letter to political representatives that is supported by more than 160 organisations. It has already more than 20 000 signatures, and it is still open for new supporters. FSFE is encouraging people to join activities around the campaigning for the upcoming EU elections, spreading the knowledge, and highlighting the fundamental topics to their Members of the European Parliament (MEPs).

Free Software Foundation Europe – FSFE

Public Money Public Code – Modernising Public Infrastructure with Free Software

Press release: FSFE publishes expert brochure about “Public Money? Public Code!” (24.01.2019)

“Public Money? Public Code!” campaign

“Public Money? Public Code!” open letter


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