[A2k] Ensuring utmost transparency - Free Software and Open Standards under the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament

Erik Josefsson erik.hjalmar.josefsson at gmail.com
Thu Dec 11 14:13:12 PST 2014


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Dear all,

This study was first requested by the EP in 2012.

Now it has finally been delivered by the Greens/EFA.

//Erik

Web article:
http://www.greens-efa.eu/free-software-and-open-standards-in-the-european-parliament-13245.html

Link to the study:
http://www.greens-efa.eu/fileadmin/dam/Documents/Studies/Ensuring-Utmost-Transparency--Piana-Oberg-Korff.pdf

Free Software and Open Standards in the European Parliament

Ensuring utmost transparency - Free Software and Open Standards under
the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament

Do public bodies in Europe have an obligation to move from closed source
and lock-in to vendor independence and free software? In general
probably yes, but is it also true for the European Parliament?
Definitely! This is the stark conclusion of the study "Ensuring utmost
transparency - Free Software and Open Standards under the Rules of
Procedure of the European Parliament" by Carlo Piana and Ulf Öberg.

It is clear, the study says, that the Parliament has imposed upon itself
a commitment to conduct its activities with the utmost transparency.
This commitment follows from the legal standing of the Rules of
Procedure, and, when analysed by Piana and Öberg, it turns out the
European Parliament's standard of openness is higher than that of other
EU institutions. This fact has consequences.

The study investigates in depth how the Parliament's own transparency
obligations should inform its decisions, policies and procedures with
regard to free software and open standards, for example:

- - when Parliament implements communication infrastructure like email,
the implementation should not impair standards-based access and should
not restrict the use of mailing lists and encryption

- - when Parliament opens procurement procedures it should promote free
software and open standards through proportionate and calibrated
specifications as new EU rules allow for the taking into account of
environmental and social considerations and innovation in the awarding
of public contracts

- - when Parliament decides to make a given set of data or information
available to the public, this must be done through non-discriminatory,
transparent and up-to-date means of communication, and in open formats
that support further analyses, uses and releases

- - when Parliament adopts free software and open standards it should
follow and exceed measurable benchmarks that other public bodies in the
EU have already provided

- - when Parliament can choose technologies that allow others to work with
Parliament's own systems and data, such technologies should be
privileged, even if they were to incur some extra costs

The authors conclude that "the Rules of Procedure of the European
Parliament should whenever possible make Free Software and Open
Standards mandatory for all systems and data used for the work of
Parliament. In our view, that is the most appropriate way for Parliament
to meet its own standard of "utmost transparency"."

The study has been supervised by Professor Douwe Korff who says it
"links this principle [of "utmost transparency"] with the technical
standards and practical steps that can be taken to ensure its full
implementation" and that "the authors have managed to draw on all these
sources to indicate clearly what should be done in practical, technical
terms by the officials managing the information and IT systems relating
to the work of the European Parliament to truly and fully achieve the
legal requirement of "utmost transparency". This report will become a
major point of reference for the debates on those steps."

Download the study (first edition,
PDF)<http://www.greens-efa.eu/fileadmin/dam/Documents/Studies/Ensuring-Utmost-Transparency--Piana-Oberg-Korff.pdf>


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