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  2. <html newsdate="2010-08-02">
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  4. <head>
  5. <title>German ministries flout IT open interoperability requirements</title>
  6. </head>
  7. <body>
  8. <h1>German ministries flout IT open interoperability requirements</h1>
  9. <h2>Survey finds only 2 of 87 departments are conforming to federal open
  10. document regulations</h2>
  11. <p>Research published by FSFE this week suggests that the majority
  12. of federal government departments in Germany are ignoring requirements to
  13. implement <a href="/freesoftware/standards/def.html">Open
  14. Standards</a>.</p>
  15. <p>A survey was conducted by the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) to
  16. investigate the state of government adoption of ODF, and to promote wider
  17. uptake of Open Standards. "Although federal policy has wisely embraced Open
  18. Standards for interoperability, accessibility and security, it is clear that
  19. most government bodies are still using inefficient proprietary formats" said
  20. Karsten Gerloff, President of FSFE. "Ultimately citizens will end up paying
  21. the
  22. price for this lack of conformity through higher bills for public IT
  23. contracts,
  24. and slower services due to interoperability problems" he added. "They
  25. will also pay a price in freedom, as they are forced to use
  26. proprietary software and standards to communicate with government
  27. authorities".</p>
  28. <p>Since the beginning of 2010, the German Information Technology Council
  29. (Rat der IT-Beauftragten) has required state departments to support Open
  30. Document Format (ODF) in order to communicate with the growing number of
  31. individuals and organisations that use it. The policy, which is based upon the
  32. findings of the Inter-Ministerial Coordination Committee - a panel of experts
  33. from the federal
  34. administration, requires that departments have the capacity to read, write
  35. and
  36. send ODF files.</p>
  37. <p>When 87 letters were sent to the ministries challenging them to
  38. demonstrate
  39. their conformance by replying in the open format, only two of them replied
  40. in
  41. ODF as requested. The Chancellor's Office and the Ministry of Food,
  42. Agriculture
  43. and Consumer Protection (BMELV) were the sole respondents to use the correct
  44. format. Five other federal bodies responded: all of whom underlined the
  45. importance of Open Standards to them. Despite claiming that they were
  46. ODF capable however, instead used other non-ODF formats for their
  47. response.</p>
  48. <p>Usage of ODF continues to grow in public institutions throughout the
  49. world, and is already officially approved in ten separate national standards
  50. organisations, in addition to being the mandatory standard for
  51. communication between NATO's 26 member states. "The Chancellor's Office and
  52. BMELV have set an example for Open Standards in public administration"
  53. concluded Matthias Kirschner, German Coordinator of FSFE, "but overall there
  54. is clearly a long way to go before practice meets policy for ODF in the German
  55. public sector".</p>
  56. <p>FSFE shall continue to monitor ODF uptake in order to ensure the
  57. protection of German citizens' right to communicate using Free
  58. Software.</p>
  59. <p>The seven bodies that participated in the survey were:</p>
  60. <ol>
  61. <li>Bundeskanzleramt (The Chancellor's Office)</li>
  62. <li>Bundesministerium für Ernährung, Landwirtschaft und
  63. Verbraucherschutz (BMELV)</li>
  64. <li>Julius Kühn-Institut (JKI) Bundesforschungsinstitut für
  65. Kulturpflanzen</li>
  66. <li>Bundesministerium für Verkehr, Bau und Stadtentwicklung</li>
  67. <li>Bundesministerium des Innern</li>
  68. <li>Bundespräsidialamt</li>
  69. <li>Der Bundesbeauftragte für den Datenschutz und die
  70. Informationsfreiheit</li>
  71. </ol>
  72. </body>
  73. </html>
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