Digital services offered and used by public administrations are the critical infrastructure of 21st-century democratic nations. To establish trustworthy systems, government agencies must ensure they have full control over systems at the core of our digital infrastructure. This is rarely the case today due to restrictive software licenses.
In September 2017, 31 organizations published an open letter in which they called for lawmakers to advance legislation requiring publicly financed software developed for the public sector be made available under a Free and Open Source Software license. The initial signatories were CCC, EDRi, Free Software Foundation Europe, KDE, Open Knowledge Foundation Germany, openSUSE, Open Source Business Alliance, Open Source Initiative, The Document Foundation, Wikimedia Deutschland , as well as several others; they ask individuals and other organization to sign the open letter.
Public institutions spend millions of euros each year on the development of new software tailored to their needs. The procurement choices of the public sector play a significant role in determining which companies are allowed to compete and what software is supported with tax payers’ money. Public administrations on all levels frequently have problems sharing code with each other, even if they funded its complete development. Furthermore, without the option for independent third parties to run audits or other security checks on the code, sensible citizen data is at risk.
Open Labs joined those organizations as a supporter of the campaign and today we are launching the call for action in Albania. Through an open letter, the community is inviting all public institutions in Albania to release the code of software developed with public money, as free and open source software. This means that the public will be able to read, study, improve and share the code.
Think of a software developed with public money from a public institution in Albania…
This program can be reused by tens of other institutions if they need to, and in case they need extra features, they can spent the money to create added value for the program, which can again later on be used by other institutions. Think that the public itself will be able to use and help improving this program. Think that our data will be much safer since the software will be developed through an open and transparent way. Only by releasing software as free and open we can achieve all this.
This is why we invite you to join our initiative: Public Money? Public Code!
Support the initiative by signing the open letter.