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German Parliament receives Upcycling Android Open Letter

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On 14 November, the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) handed over the Open Letter “The right to install any software on any device" to Tabea Rößner, Chair of the Digital Affairs Committee at the German Bundestag. The letter aims to enable a more sustainable use of electronic products and devices in the European Union.

CC-BY-SA-Elias Tetzlaff. Image showing Johannes Näder handing over the letter to Tabea Rößner
CC-BY-SA Elias Tetzlaff

To achieve this goal, the Open Letter sets out four key demands:

  1. Users have the right to freely choose operating systems and software running on their devices
  2. Users have the right to freely choose between service providers to connect their devices with
  3. Devices are interoperable and compatible with open standards
  4. Source code of drivers, tools, and interfaces are published under a free license

Signed by more than 3000 individuals and by 147 organisations, the Open Letter to European Union legislators was presented on 14 November to the Chair of the Digital Affairs Committee (Ausschuss für Digitales) at the German Bundestag, by a delegation from the FSFE.

Tabea Rößner, Chair of the Digital Committee, commented when receiving the open letter:"So many devices end up on the scrapyard after just two or three years. But the devices are still in good condition and could be made to last with new software. We could bring them back to life, especially with Free Software. It would be a real sustainability effect if we had the right to install any software on any device. That's why this initiative is absolutely worth supporting.”

Rößner announced that she would hand over the Open Letter to Steffi Lemke, Germany's Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection.

"The Open Letter is part of our Upcycling Android campaign, which we started to raise awareness about how Free Software can help to improve the sustainability of our digital devices. In addition to the Open Letter, the initiative has held workshops, developed policy recommendations, and received a lot of public attention, promoting the right of every user to install any software on any device. Moreover, upcycling our devices is an important step in rethinking our short-term, linear consumption of electronic devices in favour of a circular economy”, explains Johannes Näder, FSFE Senior Policy Project Manager.

Image showing the Open Letter printed

About Upcycling Android

Launched in November 2021, under the name “Upcycling Android", this FSFE initiative has also helped people to flash their phones with Free Software operating systems. This not only promotes the right of any user to install any software on any device, but also enables a more sustainable use of electronic products.

Even after the project has officially ended, the Upcycling Android material can be freely used by others who want to continue promoting the use of Free Software while overcoming software obsolescence.