[FSFE PR][EN] Ask Your Candidates: Italian parties offer progress towards the use of Free Software in public entities

press at fsfe.org press at fsfe.org
Fri Mar 2 14:55:34 CET 2018

 = Ask Your Candidates: Italian parties offer progress towards the use of Free Software in public entities =

[ Read online: https://fsfe.org/news/2018/news-20180302-01.en.html ]

The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) publishes the results of the
Ask Your Candidates campaign that FSFE Italy did run for the Italian
election. Multiple questions have been sent to the major political
parties that run for office in the national elections on March 4. We
received positive statements by "Movimento 5 Stelle", "Liberi e Uguali",
"Partito Democratico" and "Potere al Popolo". Unfortunately, there have
been no answers by "+Europa", "Forza Italia", "Fratelli d'Italia" and
"Lega Nord".

Since many years, at the FSFE, we run Ask Your candidates campaigns [1]
to send a set of questions to political parties and collect information
about their standing towards Free Software and to make it easier for
voters to compare their positions. Main objective of the campaign is to
know the degree of attention and support of candidates and parties
towards Free Software and those topics that are important for our work
for Free Software like Open Standard formats, digital freedoms and net

FSFE Italy in particular wishes to inform interested voters and citizens
about the parties' positions and candidates on the use of Free Software
in public administrations, a subject already present in the Italian
jurisprudence by Article 68 [2] and Article 69 [3] of the Code of the
Digital Administration (CAD) [4]. Unfortunately, the implementation of
these articles is still in continuous evolution due to the nature of the
software and of the current political will.

Today, we publish the full answers [5] that we received. In summary, the
campaign had a positive response by "Movimento 5 Stelle" and the "Liberi
e Uguali, Partito Democratico and Potere al Popolo". Unfortunately, we
did not receive any answers by +Europa, Forza Italia, Fratelli d'Italia,
Lega Nord. In the following, you find our analysis of the responds
given, sorted chronologically in the order we received the answers:

 == Results and analysis ==

Federico D'Incà and Anna Laura Orrico, both candidates for *Movimento 5
Stelle*, declare Free Software to be a benefit for the public
administration because it helps in "independence from suppliers,
security and the accessibility to all its information assets". The same
benefits, so they say, are within the adoption of Open Standards. Both
candidates are in favor of introducing Free Software and Open Standards
in schools and universities, and they consider the Digital
Administration Code to be an exhaustive rule but whose implementation is
necessary to monitor. Finally, both candidates are clearly in favour of
net neutrality which is also part of the official program of Movimento 5
Stelle, that considers net neutrality to be a "necessary and
indispensable prerequisite for freedom of expression".

Luca Casarini, candidate for *Liberi e Uguali*, not only supports Free
Software but also supports a top-down model with an "enforced migration
by law from proprietary software to Free Software and Open Source in the
public administration". Casarini also understands the adoption of Free
Software in school and university courses as "a real strategic and
educational choice towards an emancipation from the use and dependency
of proprietary programs". The candidate of Liberi e Uguali strongly
supports the Digital Administration Code and is committed to monitor its
renewal to avoid being further weakened in favor of compromises not in
line with the original spirit of the law. Such as "the weakening of the
art.68 in particular, but also the repeal of Article 50-bis" during the
last CAD reform. Liberi e Uguali are totally in favor of net neutrality,
to support "information pluralism", citizen rights and liberties.

Paolo Coppola, candidate for the *Partito Democratico*, highlights the
use of Free Software in public administrations as well as the Code of
the Digital Administration as a pivotal tool that is already in place to
promote and support its use. Coppola also points out that, with regards
to software commissioned by public administrations, Partito
Democratico's position "is the one expressed by Article 69 of the CAD:
it must be available as open source code and free of charge". For the
introduction of Free Software and open formats in school and university
courses, article 68 of the CAD is still valid, which says that in public
tenders Free Software has to be favored over proprietary software.
Coppola considers CAD to be a good legislative framework, and as a next
step proposes the publication of guidelines that aim at ensuring
compliance. Coppola confirms the importance of net neutrality and says
that "network and digital platforms must be neutral".

*Potere al popolo* state to be very much in line with some principles
that are related to Free Software and wish for "the use and introduction
of any vision based on copyleft licenses will contribute to the
protection of workers by decentralizing the authority of
multinationals". So they declare themself certainly in favor of the
adoption of open formats and Free Software within the public
administration. Potere al popolo even quotes Richard Stallman in arguing
that "if the school teaches the use of Free Software, they can graduate
citizens ready to live in a free digital society". However, unlike the
other interviewed parties, Potere al popolo finds the Articles 68 and 69
of the CAD to be insufficient and they wish for more intransigent rules
that fully exclude the use of proprietary software. Finally, the party
shows full adherence towards net neutrality, including criticism of the
European BEREC entity considered "insufficient in defining the rules for
the network."

 == Conclusion ==

This has been the first time FSFE Italy had run such an Ask Your
Candidates campaign. Fortunately, all parties and candidates that have
answered our questions - Movimento 5 Stelle, Liberi e Uguali, Partito
Democratico and Potere al Popolo - are in favor of the adoption and the
extended use of Free Software and open formats in the public
administration as well as in public education. Such a big consensus
across these parties, that in current polls together have more than 50%
of the votes, opens up a lot of possibilities for progress towards the
use of Free Software on state level in Italy and the FSFE's demand of
Public Money? Public Code! [6]. The latter can be realized by enforcing
already existing legal laws, that are in particular "Article 68" and
"Article 69" of the Code of the Digital Administration. Again, with an
exception of Potere al popolo, all parties claim to be in favor of
enforcing these articles. If it would be for Potere al popolo, they
would set even stricter rules. Finally, all parties in this sample
support the existence and enforcement of net neutrality.

 1: https://fsfe.org/campaigns/askyourcandidates/askyourcandidates
 2: http://www.agid.gov.it/cad/art-68-analisi-comparativa-soluzioni
 3: http://www.agid.gov.it/cad/art-69-riuso-soluzioni-standard-aperti
 4: https://cad.readthedocs.io/it/v2017-12-13/
 5: https://fsfe.org/campaigns/askyourcandidates/201803-italy-general-elections
 6: https://publiccode.eu/

  == About the Free Software Foundation Europe ==

  Free Software Foundation Europe is a charity that empowers users to
  control technology. Software is deeply involved in all aspects of our
  lives; and it is important that this technology empowers rather than
  restricts us. Free Software gives everybody the rights to use,
  understand, adapt and share software. These rights help support other
  fundamental freedoms like freedom of speech, press and privacy.

  The FSFE helps individuals and organisations to understand how Free
  Software contributes to freedom, transparency, and self-determination.
  It enhances users' rights by abolishing barriers to Free Software
  adoption, encourage people to use and develop Free Software, and
  provide resources to enable everyone to further promote Free Software
  in Europe.


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