The Free Software Foundation Europe and twenty Italian civil society organisations wrote a letter to the President of the Authority for the Protection of Personal Data, asking the agency to ensure that all documents published on its website can be read and used with Free Software programs.
On its website, the agency had offered a PDF document to report data breaches. Although most versions of the PDF file format are Open Standards, this form could only be filled in using a particular proprietary PDF reader.
"This is an obstacle to the users' freedom," says Alessandro Polvani, who coordinates FSFE's activities in Italy. "Public authorities need to make sure that their documents are accessible to everyone. No citizen should have to use proprietary software in order to talk to the public sector."
In FSFE's PDFreaders campaign, volunteers across Europe work to have advertisements for proprietary PDF readers removed from public-sector websites. People in Italy are among the most active participants in the campaign. They have so far reported 488 advertisements, of which almost half (49%) were fixed in response to letters by citizens. .
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