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EU Declaration of Digital Rights: Free Software included by European Parliament

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Early this year, the Commission proposed a draft for an EU Declaration on Digital Rights and Principles that aims to guide the digital transformation in the EU. Now the European Parliament has agreed on a text and Free Software makes part of it.

The European Commission has presented its proposal for the EU Declaration on Digital Rights and Principles which will serve as reference point in the future and as a common vision of our digital rights in Europe. After receiving the contributions to the text from different committees and finding a compromise, the European Parliament has now agreed on a common text. The FSFE welcomes that the text by the European Parliament now includes Free Software as a way to ensure transparency in the use of algorithms and artificial intelligence. It further highlights the importance of promoting "trustworthy standards and, wherever possible, open source standards".

Building of the European Parliament in Brussels
"The EU Declaration of Digital Rights and Principles will be an important guideline to our fast pace digitalisation. Therefore, we welcome the agreed text from the European Parliament for acknowledging the role that Free Software has on trustworthy technologies, specially with regard to AI. Now we expect the ongoing-discussed AI regulation to be consistent with these principles" says Lina Ceballos, FSFE Project Manager.

Furthermore, in Chapter VI of the agreed text named "Sustainability", there is the commitment to support the "development of sustainable by design digital technologies, that are durable, repairable, and interoperable, both on a hardware and a software level, and banning practices leading to premature obsolescence".

"The European Parliament's call for the development of sustainable technologies, that are durable, repairable, and interoperable is in fact a call for the development of Free Software." as Erik Albers, FSFE Digital Sustainability Programme Manager, emphasizes. From here on we expect future legislations aligned to these principles and making use of the crucial role that Free Software plays for an eco-friendly design and the sustainability of our hardware"

The FSFE has published an open letter co-signed by meanwhile more than 45 organisations and companies from the environmental, economic, and technological sectors. In the letter, the broad alliance asks EU legislators for the right to install any software on any device, including full access to hardware. These rights support reusability and longevity of our devices.

The FSFE keeps monitoring the ongoing inter-institutional dialogue trying to make sure that the Parliament proposal remains. So that the final text of Declaration of Digital Rights and Principles can become a milestone for software freedom.