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  1. <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
  2. <html newsdate="2010-08-02">
  3. <head>
  4. <title>German ministries flout IT open interoperability requirements</title>
  5. </head>
  6. <body>
  7. <h1>German ministries flout IT open interoperability requirements</h1>
  8. <h2>Survey finds only 2 of 87 departments are conforming to federal open
  9. document regulations</h2>
  10. <p newsteaser="yes">Research published by FSFE this week suggests that the majority
  11. of federal government departments in Germany are ignoring requirements to
  12. implement <a href="">Open
  13. Standards</a>.</p>
  14. <p>A survey was conducted by the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) to
  15. investigate the state of government adoption of ODF, and to promote wider
  16. uptake of Open Standards. "Although federal policy has wisely embraced Open
  17. Standards for interoperability, accessibility and security, it is clear that
  18. most government bodies are still using inefficient proprietary formats" said
  19. Karsten Gerloff, President of FSFE. "Ultimately citizens will end up paying
  20. the
  21. price for this lack of conformity through higher bills for public IT
  22. contracts,
  23. and slower services due to interoperability problems" he added. "They
  24. will also pay a price in freedom, as they are forced to use
  25. proprietary software and standards to communicate with government
  26. authorities".</p>
  27. <p>Since the beginning of 2010, the German Information Technology Council
  28. (Rat der IT-Beauftragten) has required state departments to support Open
  29. Document Format (ODF) in order to communicate with the growing number of
  30. individuals and organisations that use it. The policy, which is based upon the
  31. findings of the Inter-Ministerial Coordination Committee - a panel of experts
  32. from the federal
  33. administration, requires that departments have the capacity to read, write
  34. and
  35. send ODF files.</p>
  36. <p>When 87 letters were sent to the ministries challenging them to
  37. demonstrate
  38. their conformance by replying in the open format, only two of them replied
  39. in
  40. ODF as requested. The Chancellor's Office and the Ministry of Food,
  41. Agriculture
  42. and Consumer Protection (BMELV) were the sole respondents to use the correct
  43. format. Five other federal bodies responded: all of whom underlined the
  44. importance of Open Standards to them. Despite claiming that they were
  45. ODF capable however, instead used other non-ODF formats for their
  46. response.</p>
  47. <p>Usage of ODF continues to grow in public institutions throughout the
  48. world, and is already officially approved in ten separate national standards
  49. organisations, in addition to being the mandatory standard for
  50. communication between NATO's 26 member states. "The Chancellor's Office and
  51. BMELV have set an example for Open Standards in public administration"
  52. concluded Matthias Kirschner, German Coordinator of FSFE, "but overall there
  53. is clearly a long way to go before practice meets policy for ODF in the German
  54. public sector".</p>
  55. <p>FSFE shall continue to monitor ODF uptake in order to ensure the
  56. protection of German citizens' right to communicate using Free
  57. Software.</p>
  58. <p>The seven bodies that participated in the survey were:</p>
  59. <ol>
  60. <li>Bundeskanzleramt (The Chancellor's Office)</li>
  61. <li>Bundesministerium für Ernährung, Landwirtschaft und
  62. Verbraucherschutz (BMELV)</li>
  63. <li>Julius Kühn-Institut (JKI) Bundesforschungsinstitut für
  64. Kulturpflanzen</li>
  65. <li>Bundesministerium für Verkehr, Bau und Stadtentwicklung</li>
  66. <li>Bundesministerium des Innern</li>
  67. <li>Bundespräsidialamt</li>
  68. <li>Der Bundesbeauftragte für den Datenschutz und die
  69. Informationsfreiheit</li>
  70. </ol>
  71. </body>
  72. </html>
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