FSFE Newsletter - August 2016
"Free and Open Source Security Audit" in the EU needs feedback from Free Software communities
The goal of the "Free and Open Source Security Audit" (FOSSA) pilot project is to increase the security of Free Software used by European institutions. The FSFE has been following the project since early 2014. Recently, the European Commission published the first round of deliverables based on their interviews with stakeholders. While the FSFE is in full support of this European initiative, the implementation of the project leaves us concerned. FOSSA's first analysis lacks an understanding of Free Software; it includes several factual errors; and it was based on poorly conducted general interviews. FSFE President Matthias Kirschner and FSFE Fellowship Representative Mirko Böehm, who were both interviewed for the project, have summarised the most evident shortcomings in the recent FOSSA publications. However, looking from another perspective: FOSSA is still in its first stages and with the help of more Free Software experts, we can get FOSSA going in the right direction. The FSFE will continue to closely follow FOSSA's upcoming implementations. In case you have any comments or feedback concerning the initiative, please do not hesitate to share your thoughts with us on our discussion list or directly to the attention of Matthias Kirschner. This way, we will make sure that all relevant concerns will be communicated to the EU.
Italy plans to stop its explicit support for Free Software in e-Government
The government of Italy is planning to revise the provision in the Digital Administration Law that requires public administrations to prioritise reusable, Free Software-based software solutions. The changes also concern the publication and maintenance of a list of open ICT standards that are used by public administrations. Following this proposal would mean the government will no longer require the national agency for the Digitisation of the Public Sector (AGID) to issue binding opinions on interoperability, or to prioritise Free Software. Members of the Italian Parliament have raised their concerns in regard to the proposed changes. FSFE's General Counsel Carlo Piana has previously advised Italian authorities on the guidelines of implementation of Digital Administration Law , and contested the government's plans in his letter to Tech Economy (in Italian).
From the community
- Daniel Pocock explains security problems with SMS and phone verification, and asks how many mobile phone accounts will be hijacked this summer.
- Hannes Hauswedell explains how you can retroactively replace git subtree with git submodule.
- Polina Malaja sums up the creation of the European Cyber Security Organisation (ECSO) and explains why many security concerns can be significantly decreased by using Free Software as much as possible.
- Daniel Pocock explains how you can help with monitoring packages in Debian and Ubuntu.
- Wolfgang Romey writes about the sustainability of technical devices and their need for Free Software (German).
What else have we done?
- Early this summer, the FSFE co-signed a letter in support of strong net neutrality together with 72 other organisations. The European Commission, however, seems to endorse the weak net neutrality demands proposed by the coalition of 17 biggest EU Internet Service Providers (ISP) in the so-called '5G manifesto'. Our policy analyst Polina Malaja blogged about the worrisome direction of watering down strong net neutrality in the name of 'innovation'.
- Matthias gave a talk at the Technical University of Berlin about the importance of Free Software and presented some of the highlights of FSFE's work.
- FSFE's Italian team was present with a booth at Wikimania 2016 in Esino Larino, Italy.
From August 1st, a new German law will allow users to freely choose their router device. The FSFE wants to ensure everybody knows about their new rights and is asking users to report cases in which internet service providers (ISP) try to avoid the new regulation. The new regulation was designed to eliminate previous ambiguity around the practice of "compulsory routers" imposed on the users by ISPs. However, it is necessary to ensure that the new law is implemented.
If you are a client of a German internet provider, we ask you to exercise your new right and start using an alternative device, ideally one that runs Free Software. Please provide us feedback whether you had any issues about running a new router and help us to collect it in our wiki page. In case you don't have an alternative device at hand, the FSFE can also provide some testing devices. Please refer to our wiki page for more information on this.
Good Free Software news
The European Commission will reward existing IT solutions that have been developed and shared by public administrations, and that can be further reused across Europe due to the use of Free Software licenses. Adullact, the French organisation for public administrations using free software, set up Comptoir-du-Libre.org, a website that aims to help public administrations’ IT decision-makers to switch to Free Software. The city council of the Spanish city of Ciudad Real voted in favor of a resolution to switch all 400 workstations of the city's administration to Free Software (Spanish). The Open Knowledge Foundation Germany, in cooperation with the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, started the Prototype fund, which supports Free Software projects with a grant of up to €30.000, available for anyone with primary residence in Germany.
Thanks to all the volunteers, Fellows and corporate donors who enable our work,
your editors Polina Malaja and Erik Albers, FSFE