[FSFE PR][EN] Study: To ensure transparency, European Parliament must adopt Free Software, Open Standards

press at fsfeurope.org press at fsfeurope.org
Mon Dec 15 15:33:51 CET 2014

 = Study: To ensure transparency, European Parliament must adopt Free Software, Open Standards =

[ Read online: https://fsfe.org/news/2014/news-20141212-01.en.html ]

A study relesead on Friday says that the European Parliament must adopt
Free Software and Open Standards[1] in order to fulfil its transparency
obligations. 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

The study, entitled "Ensuring utmost transparency -- Free Software and
Open Standards under the Rules of Procedure of the European
Parliament"[2], was prepared by two legal experts for the Greens/EFA[3]
in the European Parliament. Its authors, the legal experts Carlo Piana
(Italy) and Ulf Öberg (Sweden), argue that the Parliament is committed
to an even higher standard of openness than other EU institutions.

    "This study sends a strong signal that Free Software and Open
    Standards are essential for the European institutions to fulfil
    their transparency obligations," says FSFE's president Karsten
    Gerloff. "We call on the European Parliament to implement the
    study's recommendations at all levels, and as quickly as possible,
    in particular with regard to access and use of documents, email and
    encryption, video streaming, and upcoming procurement decisions."

The study lists a number of concrete steps the European Parliament needs
to take in order to fulfil its transparency obligations:

- Immediate technical measures includes to enable access and use of
  documents, email and encryption with and through Open Standards. In
  other words, the European Parliament must make it possible to work
  with ODF, IMAP and OpenPGP inside the Parliament. It must also ensure
  that citizens can use these open standards to communicate with the
  Parliament, regardless of the software platform they are using.

- When acquiring software and services, the European Parliament should
  prefer Free Software based on Open Standards. This is not only allowed
  by the EU's procurement rules, but actually "serves the general
  economic interest of the EU".

- The European Parliament should continously check that its IT
  infrastructure and services comply with the Constitutional Principle
  of Openness and the Parliament's own Rules of Procedure to ensure the
  utmost transparency.

FSFE and others have repeatedly criticised the Parliament for failing on
transparency. Currently, MEPs and parliamentary staff do not have access
to a standards-compliant email solution, and live video streams from the
Parliament are not accessible for Free Software users.

    "The Parliament needs to open itself to the world," says Gerloff.
    "Live video streams that allow all Europeans to follow the
    Parliament's work are essential to democracy in the 21st century.
    Encryption is a necessity to allow the citizens to talk to their
    MEPs in confidence. Utmost transparency is one of the EU's
    fundamental principles, and Europeans expect their Parliament to do
    better in this regard."

The Greens/EFA are soliciting feedback[4] for a second edition of the

Media contact:
Karsten Gerloff
Mail: gerloff fsfe.org
tel.: +49 176 9690 4298

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 1. https://fsfe.org/activities/os/def.en.html
 2. http://www.greens-efa.eu/fileadmin/dam/Documents/Studies/Ensuring-Utmost-Transparency--Piana-Oberg-Korff.pdf
 3. http://www.greens-efa.eu/free-software-and-open-standards-in-the-european-parliament-13245.html
 4. http://euwiki.org/Ensuring_utmost_transparency_--_Free_Software_and_Open_Standards_under_the_Rules_of_Procedure_of_the_European_Parliament

  == 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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