[FSFE PR][EN] State neglected web standards, company now faces EUR 5600 in fines

press at fsfeurope.org press at fsfeurope.org
Wed May 9 10:29:21 CEST 2012

= State neglected web standards, company now faces EUR 5600 in fines =

[Read online: http://fsfe.org/news/2012/news-20120509-01.en.html ]

In Slovakia, a law introduced to reduce red tape has led to injustice.
The state has mandated electronic means as a only way of fulfilling
certain statutory obligations. However the dedicated web solution
excludes some citizens from use as it is not interoperable and runs only
on the software from one vendor. In absence of any non-electronic
option, this means that state, in fact, prescribed the use of a certain
product from a certain vendor. Who did not own the copy, had to buy one.
Slovak textile importer deemed that state should not force him to use a
certain software for his business and fulfilled its legal obligation by
paper. Now the company faces EUR 5600 in fines.

The Slovak tax administration has already imposed 12 fines on EURA
Slovakia, s.r.o., which submitted its monthly tax returns on paper,
because the use of electronic forms was impossible as the state's web
application worked only on Microsoft's Windows operating system together
with Microsoft Internet Explorer. All other competing operating systems
such as Apple, GNU/Linux, BSDs failed to run the state's application.

The Slovak tax administration has, therefore, precluded citizens who use
competing products from fulfilling its obligations towards the
state./"This situation is absurd. If another public body decides to use
an Apple-only solution for its public services, should then everybody
buy Apple's products just to fulfill this legal obligation? How many
different products should citizens and companies have to buy just to
comply with all the different laws?"/asks Martin Husovec, member of the
FSFE Legal, who now assists the Slovak company in appealing the fines
before the court.

Ironically, instead of reducing the red tape, this negligence only added
further complications for the companies. Moreover, the "EURA case"
raises a question of why the state should promote any one vendor's
operating system. It only hurts the competition, increases costs for the
small companies and leads to social injustice such as in this case. If
the state requires the electronic form as a only way of respecting the
law, it has to offer the multi-platform solution, which is available to
everybody. It is the task of the state to be here for everybody and not
only for selected citizens.

More information about the EURA case on the following link:

== About the Free Software Foundation Europe ==
  The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is a non-profit
  non-governmental organisation active in many European countries and
  involved in many global activities. Access to software determines
  participation in a digital society. To secure equal participation in
  the information age, as well as freedom of competition, the Free
  Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) pursues and is dedicated to the
  furthering of Free Software, defined by the freedoms to use, study,
  modify and copy. Founded in 2001, creating awareness for these issues,
  securing Free Software politically and legally, and giving people
  Freedom by supporting development of Free Software are central issues
  of the FSFE.

More information about the Press-release mailing list