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Fighting Spies: Public Services in Europe Keep Moving to Free/Open Source Software

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software at 2:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: More examples of moves that characterise pursuit of software freedom and independence

The stampede towards Free (as in freedom) software — software that respects autonomy and national sovereignty that is — is visible for all to see in Europe (except perhaps in the UK with its 'special' USA/NSA relationship). Some of the latest examples are the French Gendarmerie [1], the government of Portugal [2], and the European Parliament [3], which recently made headlines because the NSA was spying on it (surveillance by bugging, no better than British spying on Belgian allies [4], perhaps preceding litigation [5]). Let’s hope that the surveillance scandals help remind citizens and their governments that without Free software there is no hope for privacy and self determination. Potential politicians can be spied on and ousted/shamed retroactively by selected ‘leaks’ (or smears) if their positions on certain policies are not in line with the foreign spies’ (or their bosses). It’s called espionage and it’s commonly treated as the most effective way to remotely disrupt distant parties.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. French Gendarmerie: “Open source desktop lowers TCO by 40%”

    Using an open source desktop lowers the total cost of ownership by 40%, in savings on proprietary software licences and by reducing costs on IT management. Using Ubuntu Linux massively reduces the number of local technical interventions, says Major Stéphane Dumond. “The direct benefits of saving on licences are the tip of the iceberg. An industrialised open source desktop is a powerful lever for IT governance.”

  2. Portuguese government set on increasing use of open source

    The government of Portugal wants to increase its use of open source ICT solutions and open ICT standards, aiming to rationalise its IT and reduce costs, says André Vasconcelos from the Agency for Administrative Modernisation (AMA). “To allow comparing open source and proprietary solutions, we’ll make it compulsory to calculate the TCO over 4 years, including for maintenance, licences, migration and productivity.”

  3. European Parliament IT is ‘following open source route’

    The European Parliament is increasingly turning to open source, according to a report by the parliament’s IT department. This type of solutions are mostly used for development, for application servers and web content management. Open source is also available to those members of the parliament using a laptop configured by the IT department.

  4. Cyber Attack: Belgians Angered by British Spying
  5. GCHQ faces legal action over mass surveillance

    Today Big Brother Watch, working with the Open Rights Group, English PEN and German internet activist Constanze Kurz, has announced legal papers have been filed alleging that GCHQ has illegally intruded on the privacy of millions of British and European citizens.

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