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  1. <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
  2. <html newsdate="2016-09-07">
  3. <head>
  4. <title>Julia Reda, MEP: "Proprietary Software threatens Democracy"
  5. </title>
  6. </head>
  7. <body>
  8. <h1>Julia Reda, MEP: "Proprietary Software threatens Democracy"
  9. </h1>
  10. <center>
  11. <video controls="controls" width="640" height="360" crossorigin="crossorigin">
  12. <source src="" type='video/webm' />
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  14. </center>
  15. <p newsteaser="yes">Julia Reda ended the QtCon, a conference for
  16. the Free Software community, with a closing keynote on, among other
  17. things, Free Software in the European Public Sector.
  18. </p>
  19. <p>Ms Reda, a member of the EU Parliament for the Pirate Party,
  20. explained how proprietary software, software that forbids users from
  21. studying and modifying it, has often left regulators in the dark,
  22. becoming a liability for and often a threat to the well-being and
  23. health of citizens.</p>
  24. <p>An example of this, she said, is the recent Dieselgate scandal, in
  25. which auto-mobile manufacturers installed software that cheated
  26. instruments that measured fumes in test environments, only to spew
  27. illegal amounts of toxic exhaust into the atmosphere the moment they
  28. went on the road.</p>
  29. <p>Ms Reda also explained how medical devices running proprietary
  30. software posed a health hazard for patients. She gave the example of a
  31. woman with a pacemaker who collapsed while climbing some stairs due to
  32. a bug in her device. Doctors and technicians had no way of diagnosing
  33. and correcting the problem as they did not have access to the
  34. code.</p>
  35. <p>Also worrying is the threat software with restrictive licenses pose to
  36. democracy itself. The trend of substituting traditional voting ballots
  37. with voting machines is especially worrying, because, as these
  38. machines are not considered a threat to national security, their
  39. software also goes unaudited and is, in fact, unauditable in most
  40. cases.</p>
  41. <p>And, although voting machines are built and programmed by private
  42. companies, they are commissioned by public entities and paid for with
  43. public money, money taken from citizens' taxes. However, there are no
  44. universal EU regulations that force companies, or, indeed, public
  45. organisations, to make the source code available to the citizens that
  46. have paid for it, said Ms Reda.</p>
  47. <p>Furthermore, she noted that, despite the fact Free Software
  48. technologies (web servers, CMSs, email servers, and so on) are used
  49. extensively throughout the public administration, the public sector
  50. assumes very little responsibility in the way of giving back to the
  51. community via patches or even bug reports.</p>
  52. <p>Ms Reda said that the solution to this very dismal state of affairs is
  53. a multi-pronged one. She commended the Free Software Foundation Europe
  54. for its work in advocating for all software commissioned by public
  55. entities and paid with public money, be made available under
  56. free/libre licenses for everyone. She also noted that to get
  57. governments on the side of Free Software it is essential to make them
  58. see its merits.</p>
  59. <p>Only like this, she said, would it be possible to make legislators
  60. regulate coherently in favour of free/libre technologies.</p>
  61. </body>
  62. <tags>
  63. <tag>front-page</tag>
  64. <tag content="FSFE summit">fsfesummit</tag>
  65. <tag content="QtCon16">qtcon</tag>
  66. </tags>
  67. </html>