EU: Liability, Interoperable Europe Act +++ Partial Router Freedom in Greece
In April’s newsletter we discuss EU proposals affecting Free Software: the introduction of liability rules for software and the Interoperable Europe Act. Greece secures Router Freedom but excludes fiber connections.
EU: Proposed liability rules will harm Free Software
The EU is currently debating the introduction of liability rules for software, including Free Software. The relevant proposals are the AI Act, Product Liability Directive (PLD), and Cyber Resilience Act (CRA). The way they are, all proposals will harm the Free Software ecosystem and thus the society and the economy.
We, therefore, propose a solution that will lead to more security while safeguarding the Free Software ecosystem. Liability should be shifted to those deploying Free Software instead of those developing Free Software, and those who significantly financially benefit from this deployment should make sure the software becomes CE-compliant.
The Interoperable Europe Act needs a “Free Software first” approach
The Interoperable Europe Act (IEA) aims to assist public administration to share, reuse, and integrate information technology and data across borders. Although the proposed IEA has the potential to be a game changer in allowing the EU to guide with example in the digitalisation path without having to reinvent the wheel, several problematic aspects stand in the way, including the following:
- Clear rules with concrete activities and budget are missing. There is clear importance of training - with a proper budget allocation - for civil servants on Free Software technologies, workflows, and their impact on transparency and trustworthy interoperable digital infrastructure.
- The role of civil society is overlooked. If the interoperability of digital public services is to keep the interest of people at its centre, their involvement and agency in such processes must guide these efforts.
- There are not yet clear definitions of Free Software and Open Standards. Until now, the lack of definitions and clear actions has led to loopholes not only in the interpretation but also in the implementation of previous digital initiatives.
Greece secures Router Freedom but excludes fiber connections
Routers and modems are gateways to the Internet. As with any other digital devices, consumers should be able to choose such an important piece of equipment. The Greek regulator, EETT, has adopted new rules introducing Router Freedom in the country. Since 2021, the FSFE has been working with policymakers to protect the interests of end-users. Civil society and industry organisations backed the FSFE and contributed positively to this new law.
We regret that EETT excluded fiber networks as a default for Router Freedom. Although end-users can require a separation of the optical network equipment and routers, this restricts users from plugging their fiber router directly into the network. Even so, Greek consumers are better served by a clear framework for Router Freedom. We encourage the regulator to make the new rules effective; freedom of terminal equipment requires constant monitoring of internet service providers’ commercial practices.
Young Hackers' Fixes
While reading novels and watching movies on his laptop, David thought how convenient it would be to turn pages or pause the video with a wave of the hand and made it happen. Andrei added clipboard functionality to ‘bemenu’, a dynamic menu program. Meet Andrei and David who both participated in the first edition of the Youth Hacking 4 Freedom competition.
Women’s Day tribute
Thank you to everyone who is making the tech sector more inclusive! Let’s continue working together to achieve gender parity and embrace equity. Moreover, Free Software can help close the gender gap. The use and development of Free Software, by providing accessible digital tools, support the process of digital transformation and provide women and other under-represented groups with digital skills and the opportunity to develop their own software according to their needs.
Ada & Zangemann book
Several weeks ago, Matthias Kirschner, Ada & Zangemann’s writer and FSFE president, talked about the inspiration behind this book and the need to raise awareness about Free Software. The English version is already available in the US and it can be pre-ordered in Europe. The book is under a Creative Commons license. Feel free to check if our volunteers are already translating it into your native language. You can even join them!
- 🇸🇪 Sweden: Join us in FOSS-North on 24 and 25 April, following a community day on 23 April. Lina Ceballos, FSFE Policy Project Manager, is giving a keynote talk ‘Interoperable Europe Act: A real game changer?'.
- 🇭🇷 Croatia: Lina Ceballos is giving a keynote talk ‘EU Policy topics the whole Free Software community should know about’ for DORS/CLUC23 that will take place in Zagreb Croatia on 11-12 May.
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Your editor, Fani Partsafyllidou