Policy goals 2014 - 2019

Public Bodies

Public bodies form a crucial infrastructure of democratic states. Parliaments, government organizations and administrative bodies must be fully under the control of the state, which in turn is governed by its citizens through democratic processes.

In order to achieve these goals, public bodies must be in full control of the software and the computer systems which they use, and of the data which they gather, store, and process. In order to fulfill their obligations towards the citizens they serve, public bodies must use only Free Software, and store their data in file formats that are compliant with Open Standards.

Where public bodies make use of software as a service (SaaS or "cloud" solutions), they must additionally avoid vendor lock-in and ensure that they can easily switch between different providers of such services. They must ensure that data is portable between providers, that it is stored in file formats compliant with Open Standards, and that the solution does not require non-free (client) software. Public bodies are financed through taxes. They must make sure to spend these funds wisely. If organizations are locked into any particular vendor's offerings, they will end up paying monopoly prices for software and related services.

Instead, public bodies must procure their software and computer-related services only through open, competitive calls for tender which are open to all bidders. Public bodies must figure future exit costs into the price of each bid, as well as the cost of any licenses they would need to acquire in addition to the solution being offered. They should purchase only devices on which they can freely modify the software, and install operating systems and other programs of their choice.

When public bodies develop software, or pay for software to be developed, the resulting programs must be released to the public under a Free Software license. Citizens and businesses have paid for this software with their taxes, so they should have access to it. This includes smartphone applications ("apps") released by public bodies.

We want the EU and its member states to:

- ask the Commission to propose legislation requiring that all publicly financed software, including applications for mobile devices, be made publicly available under Free Software licenses

- regarding procurement, ask the Commission to propose legislation requiring public bodies to include exit costs into the total cost of any software or hosting solution they acquire