We, Pirates, want to inform you that the European People’s Party (EPP) in the European Parliament is trying to destroy Pirates’ efforts to encourage EU institutions to develop publicly available Free and Open Source Software, which would increase transparency, reduce administrative costs, increase security and metadata quality, and avoid vendor lock-in effects.
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.
It is essential for the EU institutions to retain control over their 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 one company is in charge of a software or even an entire IT system.
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.
Similarly, non-proprietary software have stronger safeguards for user’s privacy and data protection and are a great alternative to the monopoly of GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon) companies. We believe citizens and businesses must not be forced to use proprietary software when dealing with public administration. Online communication with government must be based on free and vendor-neutral protocols and formats.
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 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.
For all these reasons, we are greatly disappointed by the attitude of the EPP Group who is using the opportunity of the remote Parliament Plenary session to delete our recommendation to develop Open Source Software even though this already obtained a majority of votes at the Committee level.
Please help us in raising awareness of this important citizens right towards your EU public administration.