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Public Money? Public Code!

Get active during electoral campaigns!

An artificially created 3D image of a government building

As a Free Software advocate, you can spread the word among candidates running for elections. Here you can find some ways of getting active, and promoting the use of Free Software in public administrations.

Identify candidates

The first step before starting the debate is to research political parties and their platforms, in order to identify the candidates running for election in your area. If elected, they represent you based on your residence, and have a more direct relation with their constituents. Then, you can look for local political events happening around your area. In the run-up to the elections, there will be round-table discussions, election booths and debates with candidates. Party websites often provide information about these events, along information about their candidates.

Additionally, seek recommendations from local Free Software advocacy groups or communities, as they might take part in or organise meetings related to the elections.

Approach candidates

Once you have found an event to take part in, you can kick off the conversation starting with the basics. Ask candidates if they know what Free Software is and tell them why it is important for a democratic society. Free Software is also an important topic when it comes to public administrations. You can use the following three arguments to explain why:

  • Free Software, thanks to the four freedoms, allows public administrations to take control of their digital infrastructure. Using Free Software in public administrations is a prerequisite for becoming digitally sovereign and is crucial for a resilient digital society, especially in times of crisis.
  • Free Software licenses help public administrations to escape dependency and vendor lock-in, which at high cost hinders competition and innovation.
  • Free Software ensures that the source code is accessible so that security holes can be fixed without depending on one service provider.

Mention the FSFE’s “Public Money? Public Code!” initiative and ask the candidates a position on the topic. Make their answers public to help other people understand the candidates’ positions on Free Software.

You can also find informative material on Free Software, “Public Money? Public Code!” and other relevant topics on our website. All the material can be printed or requested for free through our request form. This material can be useful to get a basic and simple understanding of Free Software and can be easily shared. Make use of it!

If you are not able to join any event in person, or directly talk to a candidate, you can also write an email to your local candidate and ask their position on Free Software. Below is a draft email template for reference:

Dear [Candidate's Name],

As a constituent invested in promoting Free Software and digital freedom, I am reaching out to know your stance on this topic, particularly in public administrations. Free Software (also known as Open Source) guarantees the freedoms to use, understand, share, and improve the software.

In practice, Free Software provides numerous advantages for users, organisations, businesses, and governments, empowering them to control their digital infrastructure.

In particular:

  1. Competition: Free Software resists monopolisation and enhances competition, serving as a strategic tool for European businesses to compete globally.
  2. Innovation: Free Software promotes innovation by enabling businesses to customize solutions without constraints, fostering technological advancement.
  3. Autonomy: Free Software helps to develop and maintain tailored software that suits the needs of the user.
  4. Security: Free Software allows for independent security checks that help close security holes faster, enhancing the resilience of the digital infrastructure.

In this regard, Free Software not only plays a vital role in fostering transparency and equitable access to technology in a democratic society, but it also enhances competition and innovation. Free Software is about freedom, not price.

I would greatly appreciate it if you could share your views on the following questions:

  • What is your position on the demand that software whose development was financed or co-financed by public funds should always be published under a Free Software license in order to make it available to all citizens as a public common good?
  • What is your position on the demand that all public administrations should gradually switch to Free Software in order to make our public infrastructure more resilient, especially in times of crises?
  • Do you support the “Public Money? Public Code!” (https://publiccode.eu) initiative, which advocates for the adoption of Free Software in public administrations?

I believe that Free Software is essential for safeguarding democracy in a society where software is increasingly involved in our lives. Your insights on this matter are important for my voting decision in the upcoming election.

Thank you for considering these questions, and I look forward to hearing from you.

[Your Name]

Get active also on social media

We encourage you to use social media platforms to amplify your message and engage a broader audience. Share informative content about Free Software, emphasise the importance of open standards, and advocate for policies prioritising digital freedoms. Use hashtags like #publiccode to join discussions and encourage others to do the same, pointing out the significance of Free Software for shaping our democratic society in the digital age.

Moreover, you can use our share-pic generator and share why you support our “Public Money? Public Code!” campaign. Post your share-pic on social media and encourage others to do the same.

Here a toot for example you can use to share your share-pic:

I believe in #FreeSoftware!
Let’s act together for #SoftwareFreedom: the right to use, understand, share, and improve the code of the digital tools we use everyday! Distribute your share-pic and tell why you believe in #publiccode! More information on https://fsfe.org and https://publiccode.eu

You can also follow us on the Fediverse and contribute to spreading the world not only during electoral campaigns.

Help us continue our work

Our team and volunteers are working daily with decision-makers, advocating for Free Software on all levels. Your support enables us to continue our work, protecting our community and engaging with legislators to shape policies that uphold Free Software principles. Please consider becoming an FSFE supporter and making a donation. Thank you!