Input about Free Software for German OGP action plan published

Today the civil society "working group OGP (Open Government Partnership) Germany" (Arbeitskreis OGP Deutschland) published its input for a German OGP action plan. The goal of the Open Government actions is to increase transparency, citizen friendlyness, reporting, and effectiveness of governments and administrations. The input, which was already handed over to the German Government on 20 March, consists of 30 Open Government topics, including a section about Free Software.

In December 2016 Germany joined the Open Government Partnership. Until June 2017 a German action plan is to be developed and decided by the German government.

To achieve this, on 17 February 2017 the German government invited representatives from the civil society to a workshop to develop input for a German action plan for the upcoming two years. After the workshop members of civil society groups further developed the suggestions published today. In the weeks to come the German federal ministries will examine the different suggestions, debate internally, and draft a national action plan with concrete goals. There will also be another workshop to discuss the goals between administrations and the civil society (see the German timetable for the action plan by the German Government).

The OGP action plan will not just address the federal government but should also affect administrations in the German federal states and municipalities.

Input from the civil society about Free/Open Source Software

The Free Software Foundation Europe worked together with other German Free Software organisations and the "working group OGP Germany" to summarise the topic of Free Software in the Open Government context and develop concrete action items for the government.

By publishing the input we hope to enable civil society actors around the world to learn about the OGP discussion in Germany, adapt suggestions to other countries' contexts, and to enable people to give further input to the German debate.

Below a rough translation of our input originally written in German. (The full submission is available in German at the website for the workgroup OGP.)

Introduction into the topic

Open Government offers the possibility to make the activities of the state more persistent and plausible for its citizens. Open software achieves this with its open/free licensing which is proved as an international standard. The "Open Government Toolbox" sums up 1928 IT projects from 523 organisations to help in the transition to Open Government. The spectrum of this stunning collection shows the potential of Open Government software. From data visualisation to participation tools and on up to tools for local urban initiatives, numerous projects for administration and civil society are already freely accessible.

For the implementation of the Open Government road map, new software will be developed. Open Government software should be accessible under a suitable Free/Open license [1] to enable re-use and sharing of solutions between authorities, companies and citizens.

Our vision until 2030:

Federal, regional and local administrations share their solutions with other administrations, companies and civil society. For new solutions, the participants can refer to a collection of pre-existing solutions, re-use and improve these and share them with everyone. All solutions guarantee use independent of the used platform. Neither citizens, companies nor administrations should be technically discriminated against. These German software solutions enjoy an excellent reputation in administrations, civil society, and commercial enterprises around the world. People enjoy using them and they are further developed by other programming groups. Therefore this results in investment protection and a higher sustainability for the public sector, which will be developed further by third-parties, even if individual German administrative authorities opt for other solutions.

Further information sources and links:

Suggestions for commitments by the workshop for a NAP two-pager

Level 1: Suggestions for organising the process

Level 2: Precise legislative steps and regulation requirements

Level 3: Minimal measures (Mandatory programme)

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