[FSFE PR][EN] Italy puts Free Software first in public sector

Free Software Foundation Europe press at fsfeurope.org
Tue Jan 14 11:31:27 CET 2014

= Italy puts Free Software first in public sector =

[Read online: http://fsfe.org/news/2014/news-20140116-01.en.html]

The Italian government has made Free Software the default choice for
public administrations. In a document[1] published last Wednesday, the
Italian Digital Agency issued rules saying that all government
organisations in the country must consider using Free Software before
buying licenses for proprietary programs.

The document, titled "Guidelines on comparative evaluation [of
software]", sets out a detailed method which public bodies must follow
to decide which software to use. They are required to look for suitable
Free Software programs, or choose software developed by the public
sector. Only if no suitable programs of these types are available may
they consider acquiring non-free software.

"There is no excuse. All public administrations must opt for Free
Software or re-use whenever possible", says Carlo Piana, FSFE's General
Counsel, who participated in the committee that advised on the
guideline. "Now Free Software and re-use are the norm, proprietary
software the exception. This is the most advanced affirmative action in
Europe so far. I'm so proud that Italy leads the way, for once".

"This is a great example of a simple measure that governments everywhere
can take to gain control of their IT infrastructures", says Karsten
Gerloff, FSFE's President. "Free Software lets government agencies
reclaim their technological sovereignty, and helps them to make it
harder for foreign spies to access citizen's data and confidential
information. We encourage other countries in Europe and around the world
to take a close look and learn from Italy."

The document was authored by the Italian Digital Agency, which for the
first time implemented a consulting process involving representatives
from the public sector, the Free Software community, and proprietary
software makers.

Importantly, the new rules come with a mechanism to ensure they are
followed. Both public bodies and the interested public can ask the
Italian Digital Agency to check if a given organisation is following the
correct procedure. Administrative courts can annul decisions that
contradict these rules. In case of negligence, individual public
servants may be held personally liable.

 1. http://www.digitpa.gov.it/notizie/riuso-valutazione-comparativa-online-circolare

  == 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.


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