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Public Money? Public Code! During Corona

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    Herald (De): Herzlich willkommen im Hacker
    Morgengrauen im Stream der c-base der
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    Raumstation unter Berlin Mitte. Das ist
    schon der zweite Talk heute. Wir begrüßen
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    diesmal Alex. Hallo, Alex.
    Alexander: Hallo. Guten Morgen.
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    Herald: Alexander Sander zum Thema Public
    Code in der Pandemie. Public Money, Public
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    Code. Genauer gesagt. Also wir möchten
    doch gerne für das sauer abgesparte
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    Steuergeld auch Dinge zurückbekommen und
    nicht Dinge, wo wir hinterher nicht ran
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    dürfen und nicht reingucken dürfen und
    nichts mit machen dürfen. Und welche
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    Bedeutung das hat. Und warum das
    langfristig noch wichtiger wird. Das wird
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    Alex uns gleich lang und breit erklären.
    So lang und so breit wie nötig. Bis
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    ungefähr 1 Uhr. Und wenn ihr Fragen habt,
    dann benutzt den Hashtag rc3 und dann
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    werden wir versuchen das in dem Pad zu
    materialisieren und noch kurz drüber zu
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    sprechen um 1. Gut. Alex, dann halbe
    Stunde für dich. Viel Spaß.
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    Alex (De): Ja, vielen Dank.
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    Alex (En): Good morning, everyone. 12:30
    laughs
    hacker morning. That's that's
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    lovely. Yeah. So in the next 30 minutes, I
    will talk about the public money, public
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    code and what role free software played
    during the crisis and is still playing.
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    And so my name is Alexander Sander. I'm
    policy consultant of the Free Software
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    Foundation Europe, and we are a charity
    that empowers users to control technology.
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    And yeah, we do believe that free software
    plays a crucial role here. So to get us in
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    the mood, I think you all remember it was
    around March last year when the borders
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    have been closed because of the crisis. So
    we wanted to avoid contacts. And yeah, one
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    solution back in the days was to close
    borders. And as you know, free movement is
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    a fundamental right. And to fix this
    issue, software played important role and
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    contact tracing apps, for example, have
    been pushed on the market to fix this. And
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    I will talk about this a bit later. And
    also, we have seen us and many of us in
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    home office and again here. Software, was
    very important and as well free software
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    played an important role. And as said in
    the next minutes, I will tell you why and
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    free software is important and as and
    specifically what free software solutions
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    helped us to tackle the crisis. So
    everybody loves free software, especially,
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    I think, around c-base and the Congress
    free software is pretty well known.
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    However, let me introduce you quickly the
    concept of free software. So it's also
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    sometimes called libre software, open
    source software. But free software always
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    comes with 4 freedoms, and it's the
    freedom to use, study, share and improve.
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    This means free software gives you the
    freedom to use the software for any
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    purpose you want. Without any
    restrictions, you are free to study the
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    code so it can be analyzed by anyone so
    you can see the code. You can see what the
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    software is going to do, what it does. You
    also free to share the software without
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    any limitations. So there are no like
    license costs or something like this, so
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    you can install it on as many workstations
    as you want and so on. But here, please
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    keep in mind the price doesn't matter. So
    free is not coming with the price in
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    general. So you can also sell free
    software and this is also done, but you
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    are free to share it afterwards. And also,
    you are free to improve the software. You
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    can modify it. And by this you can give
    back to the community. And whenever we
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    have these 4 freedoms to use, study, share
    and improve, then it is free software or s
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    said there are many names like open
    source, libre software and so on. And
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    these 4 freedoms helped us during the
    crisis a lot when it came to software
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    solutions to give you a better
    understanding of the 4 freedoms I just
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    named. In practical terms, I have this
    slide here for you where I will first show
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    you the problems of proprietary software.
    So software, which is not coming with this
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    4 freedoms and on the other hand, on a
    practical way, the 4 freedoms as a
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    solution for free software. So first, they
    are. The major problem was proprietary
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    software is that there is no
    interoperability at all. You might have
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    laughing this problem as well a lot. So it's the
    thing that you are stuck in an ecosystem.
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    And if you buy a piece of software from
    one vendor, you always have to go back to
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    this one vendor. To like broaden your
    system, so programs are not working
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    together, so there is no connection and
    but as we call it interoperability, this
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    is something we don't see at proprietary
    software. But as you are coming into this
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    vendor lock in, as said. If you buy one
    piece of software, let's say office
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    solution, then you need to buy a mail
    program, or presentation thingy or
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    something like this from the same vendor.
    Because as you want, have want to have
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    interoperability, these proprietary
    vendors only give you interoperability in
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    their own system. But if you want to go
    out of the system, then you run into
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    struggles, and there's no interoperability
    at all. So this is a problem with data
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    sharing with others, but also like
    collaborative working and so on. And this
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    also means that these pieces of software
    came with unpredictable costs. So first of
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    all, you have to buy a piece of software.
    Then you do not know how much you have to
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    pay for the other pieces you might need in
    the future. But also, you don't know at
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    one point you have to pay for upgrades for
    updates and so on. And so it's really hard
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    to estimate the costs for the software in
    the future. And this is also a huge
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    problem which is coming with proprietary
    software. And also as you have to pay for
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    the license first, and many also like for
    a license for every workstation and so on.
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    Your investments are lost so you can't
    invest the money into the coding, but you
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    just pay for licensing. And so that's why
    your investments are also just lost in the
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    very beginning. And we have seen during
    the crisis I will show you some examples
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    that's later that there's also a very low
    acceptance by citizens if they have to, or
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    if they are forced to use proprietary
    software. And in the end, there are also
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    security issues. As you can't look into
    the code, you might don't find backdoors,
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    for example, or you can't see if the
    software is really is going to do what
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    it's supposed to do. And so therefore
    proprietary software also comes with
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    security issues. And so on the other hand,
    we have the solution. It's risk free
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    software because we have there, we have
    these open standards. This is coming from
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    the 4 freedoms as you are free, for
    example, to look in the code as you can
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    modify it and so on, and as it based on
    open standard we have this
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    interoperability by default. And so we
    can, like work together across borders,
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    and it's very easy to collaborate if you
    are using free software because you have
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    these interoperability by default. Also
    you are highly independent through the
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    free licenses. So the 4 freedoms are
    always guaranteed when it is free
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    software, so you are free to modify and
    adapt it to your needs. You are free to
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    share it, to use it in as many
    workstations as you want and so on, as
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    just said. So you are highly independent,
    by this you can also collaborate, and this
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    is also something we have seen heavily
    during the crisis. That collaboration is
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    key, especially when it comes to global
    crisis. We need to work across borders. We
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    need to collaborate across borders. And so
    this this collaboration, we can share
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    risks, but also costs. So this is a big
    advantage of free software and also you
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    can involve local partners. So this is
    especially something we see when it comes
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    to the use of free software within
    administrations, public bodies. So
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    whenever governments are using free
    software, then there's a huge involvement
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    of local partners, which is also like a
    strengthening not only the software
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    project but also the region and so on. And
    it is transparent by default, as you can
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    see the code. This is very important. It's
    also one of the freedoms. And because of
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    this transparency, you can see the code.
    And by this, you can, for example,
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    identify bugs. You can fix bugs quickly.
    And so free software gives you the
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    advantage to make your software even more
    secure. And so free software isn't secure
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    by default, but you have the chance to
    quickly find security issues, but also
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    other issues and fix them immediately. So
    and this is also a big advantage, so you
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    don't have to go back to a vendor and ask
    him if he can fix something. You can
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    simply do it by your own or the community
    can thus. So with all of this, you can
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    also already see why it is a very good
    idea to use free software in general, but
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    also in particular during a crisis, which
    is. What we have seen, especially during
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    the corona crisis. So we need to work
    together because global problems need
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    global solutions, so as already said
    during the corona crisis, we have seen a
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    lot that there was free software around
    and that that was very good, that we used
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    free software and not proprietary
    software. And that especially in the
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    beginning, there were very interesting
    debates around it. I think you might
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    remember the tracing apps and so on, but
    we have seen that here in global crisis
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    the demands are very similar. So for
    example, when it comes to contact tracing
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    or something like this, we have seen that
    specific software and specific hardware is
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    and was needed. And for Home Office, for
    example, or for remote working, we have
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    seen this and especially with the tracing
    and now we see certificate apps, we see
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    that they are more or less the same
    demands around the world. And especially
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    if we look at Europe, they are more or
    less the same solutions as we want to.
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    Yeah, the European region without borders
    and so on. And here again, the solution is
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    that we need interoperability. So we need
    these open standards to be able to
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    collaborate, to work together and to also
    use the free licenses and to spread the
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    software as wide as possible. And also
    that we need to foster the innovation and
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    collaborate. So we have seen this a lot,
    that it was very important that it's not
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    only coders who work on a project and not
    only a nation or a specific region working
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    on a project, but that we have to involve
    many stakeholders from many countries
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    working on specific projects. And this is
    only possible with free software as we can
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    work and collaborate across borders. And
    we have also seen that the transparency of
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    free software gives us acceptance, and
    this is very important, especially if you
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    want to roll out software projects on a
    very large level. You need acceptance,
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    especially by citizens that they use the
    systems, and therefore transparency is and
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    also was key. And yeah, as said as you can
    involve all stakeholders, this is also a
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    big advantage. And I want to give you a
    concrete example now, with the apps. I
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    think most of you are using at least 1 or 2
    of these laughing free software apps, which
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    are around at the moment. And when the
    debate started, it was also like one and a half
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    years ago we were discussing these contact
    tracing apps, and it was a discussion if
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    it should be centralized, decentralized,
    if it should be free software or
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    proprietary software and so on. And we
    very quickly jumped in with a press
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    release and advocated around governments
    with 3 demands, and they are still valid
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    today. And the 1st demand is that no
    matter what it is, these apps need to be
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    used voluntarily. So this is not that much
    on free software, but it's also a key that
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    it's a voluntary. But then it also must
    respect fundamental rights. So whenever
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    these apps are introduced and when they
    are health data, for example, in these
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    apps are, then we must respect fundamental
    rights, for example, the right to privacy
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    and so on. And we can only see if
    fundamental rights are protected, if the
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    code is transparent and if you can prove
    that the software is really going to do
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    what it's supposed to do. And in the end,
    so we set all of these apps and solutions
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    need to be free software, and we have been
    very successful with this demand and there
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    was a very huge debate. And what makes us
    very happy was that there was not only a
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    debate and not only the apps have been
    released as free software, but there were
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    some fundamental statements during the
    time, for example, from the World Health
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    Organization. And they said they need to
    be full, there need to be full
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    transparency and these apps need to be
    open sourced and also the European eHealth
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    network. So this is the European
    Commission and the member states of the
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    European Union released the toolbox for
    the member states, where they said already
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    defined how these mobile applications need
    to be designed in the European Union. And
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    here they said also that it need to be
    open sourced and. What makes us very happy
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    that they're not just said it need to be
    open source, but they also said it's good
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    for reuse, it's good for interoperability,
    it's good for the security and the
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    transparency. And so they followed our
    arguments fully, and this is very
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    important that the European Union, but
    also the World Health Organization,
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    quickly understood that it's only free
    software that can help us during this time
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    and the crisis. And we have quickly seen
    that there is this community engagement
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    and that it's not just about hackers and
    coders who improve apps, but it's also
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    about translations, for example. So we
    need people with language skills, but also
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    especially when it comes to the tracing
    apps. We also need, like scientists from
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    all areas who can tell us how such a virus
    spread and so on, and how we can trace it.
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    So here we have seen how global
    cooperation can work and can lead to a
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    situation that we have a very good app in
    the end, which helps us in this case for
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    contact tracing in the very beginning. And
    here you can see what happened on git, but
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    also with the CovPass app. We have seen
    that it's now available on F-droid.
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    Unfortunately, in Germany the CovPass app,
    so this is the app which gives you your
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    COVID certificate that your vaccinated,
    for example. And so in Germany, this app
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    was free software, but it was not released
    on F-droid and F-droid is a free software
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    app store. So the yeah, the better app
    store compared to Play Store, because in
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    F-droid, you can only find free software.
    But what happened is that the community
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    again stepped in, so volunteers helped us
    to make it possible that this app is now
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    also available on F-droid and ?. Yeah,
    it's also possible to use it on more
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    devices than before, and it's also free to
    use without any Google services, which is
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    also very important when it comes to
    privacy and so on. So here we have seen
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    that with the use of free software, we can
    make this app available to everyone and we
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    can ensure that fundamental rights are
    respected and that everything is based on
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    free software and that you, for example,
    don't need Google services to use these
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    apps. But on the other hand, what happened
    later? So after the good news, yeah, as
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    said there are also always bad news. In
    October last year, the European Commission
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    released a Open-Source strategy, so just a
    year later, after they said when it comes
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    to the CovPass apps and COVID apps, where
    they said it's important that they are
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    transparent because of security reasons,
    interoperability and so on, they gave
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    themselves a strategy. So the European
    Commission released an open source
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    strategy for themselves how they want to
    act and how they want to use free software
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    in the future. And unfortunately, there
    they watered down a lot. So it was not
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    like that, they said. So now we learned,
    and we want to have now everything on free
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    software because this is our learning from
    the crisis this is our learning from the
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    last decades. No. They said they want to
    release their solutions wherever it makes
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    sense to do so as open source. And they
    also want to be in the position to choose
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    non open technologies where there are good
    reasons to do so. So but at the same time,
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    they never, ever defined what are good
    reasons and where something makes sense.
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    So this is completely open. And so what is
    good, on the one hand, is that they have
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    something like open source strategy so
    that they are thinking about it, that they
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    are giving themselves the strategy. But at
    the same time, if they releasing this
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    paper, with so many loopholes we fear that
    there won't be a major change here. And I
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    think or we do believe that not only the
    crisis has shown us that free software is
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    the way to go, but also like the last
    decades and also before the crisis. We
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    have advocating a lot around this, and we
    have seen many administrations who have
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    very good experience with free software,
    not only when it comes to crisis but also
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    in general. Again, think about Home
    Office, think about video chats. What we
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    are do using here today, jitsi a free
    software tool, but also BigBlueButton, is
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    for example one so nobody has to be forced
    to use proprietary solutions like Zoom or
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    something like this. So they are very good
    free software tools on the market. And
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    there are good reasons to use them,
    especially when it comes to
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    administrations, because they are in
    contact with citizens with us. And I think
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    this is again a learning from the crisis.
    Transparency, for example, is key, but
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    also interoperability so that we are free
    to use whatever device we want, but are
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    still in the position to communicate with
    administrations. So and they also said
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    they want to set up a small, open source
    program office. There is no budget at all
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    for this. So what sounds very good from
    the very first page, so »think open«
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    that's the title of the strategy, turns
    out to be a paper full of loopholes, and
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    we are still in contact with the European
    Commission in order to learn what they are
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    doing. From what we have seen so far. It's
    not that much. They just released another
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    new paper. And um, but still, we don't see
    any budget. We don't see any people
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    working on this so that were specifically
    hired for this after the strategy was
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    introduced and so on. So, but yes. Stay
    tuned. Hopefully we can release some news
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    on this soonish on our website, but the
    commission is very, let's say, closed when
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    we ask about they think open strategy.
    Which is at the same time, very strange.
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    And so I said already before the crisis,
    not only us, but 100s of organizations and
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    also 10s of 1000s of individuals demanded
    that publicly financed software must be be
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    made publicly available under a free
    software license. And I think with a
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    crisis we have learned that it's now even
    more important than ever before to tell
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    administrations to convince
    administrations to use free software, and
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    it's not only about crisis, but it's also
    about digital sovereignty, for example. So
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    also for administrations, it's good to
    know what a software does if they use it.
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    So it's in the core of our state digital
    infrastructure and therefore the
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    administrations need to have the full
    control over the software they are using.
  • 22:26 - 22:32
    And this is also true for everybody else,
    like for us individuals, but also for
  • 22:32 - 22:38
    companies and civil society and so on. So
    it's in terms of digital sovereignty, a
  • 22:38 - 22:45
    very good idea to use free software. But
    it's also about our money. It's public
  • 22:45 - 22:49
    money, it's taxpayers money and public
    bodies are financed through taxes, and
  • 22:49 - 22:52
    that's why they have to make sure they
    spend their funds in the most efficient
  • 22:52 - 22:58
    way possible. And as I've shown to you, I
    think there's only 1 solution and this is
  • 22:58 - 23:08
    free software in the and. And to give you
    1 number here and just imagine this money
  • 23:08 - 23:13
    would have been invested in free software
    in the last years. So the governments and
  • 23:13 - 23:18
    public bodies, public administrations are
    the largest purchasers of IT goods and
  • 23:18 - 23:24
    services, and they comprise up to 27% of
    the revenue of software firms. And so now
  • 23:24 - 23:29
    just think about if we would use these 27%
    and invest it in free software and think
  • 23:29 - 23:34
    about the solutions we would have had
    during the crisis already, for example, to
  • 23:34 - 23:40
    be able to have a secure workspace for
    Home Office and so on, but also to be
  • 23:40 - 23:49
    available to be in a digital
    administrations. And so I think this
  • 23:49 - 23:54
    number is very important and shows us that
    there are many investments lost because we
  • 23:54 - 24:00
    are or administrations are still buying
    proprietary software and didn't switch to
  • 24:00 - 24:07
    free software. So in the end, free
    software gives you the many advantages you
  • 24:07 - 24:13
    can as said involve local partners. So
    whenever administrations or public bodies
  • 24:13 - 24:18
    are procuring free software, we can see
    that it's also strengthening the local
  • 24:18 - 24:25
    economy so licensing fees are not going
    anymore to Ireland and the U.S., but it's
  • 24:25 - 24:30
    also highly efficient, so you don't have
    to reinvent the wheel again and again. So
  • 24:30 - 24:35
    administrations all over the world have
    pretty much more or less the same demands.
  • 24:35 - 24:39
    And so why do we have to reinvent the
    wheel again and again and buy one piece of
  • 24:39 - 24:45
    software again and again? And so there's
    absolutely no reason. And it would be way
  • 24:45 - 24:49
    more efficient to collaborate. And we can
    also see that when administrations are
  • 24:49 - 24:55
    doing this, it's happening. And also
    again, we have this digital sovereignty,
  • 24:55 - 25:02
    so you can have software which is tailored
    to your needs and you can modify it
  • 25:02 - 25:07
    whenever you want and adapt to your needs.
    And it's not just like a vendors business
  • 25:07 - 25:11
    model what you are following. And so
    therefore free software is a very good
  • 25:11 - 25:17
    idea. So if you are in line with our
    arguments and if you like our arguments,
  • 25:17 - 25:22
    you are still free to sign our campaign.
    So 3 years, 4 years ago now. We started
  • 25:22 - 25:28
    our comparing public money public code
    where we demand that whenever it's public
  • 25:28 - 25:34
    money, the code should be also public. And
    so we want legislation requiring that
  • 25:34 - 25:40
    publicly financed software developed for
    the public sector, need to be made
  • 25:40 - 25:46
    publicly available under a free software
    license. And we are seeing more and more
  • 25:46 - 25:52
    treaties and also, for example, in the
    coalition treaty in Germany, we have some
  • 25:52 - 25:56
    sentences on the use of free software. And
    so we see that there is some progress
  • 25:56 - 26:03
    here. But still, we only need not only we
    need to do more pressure here, we have to
  • 26:03 - 26:10
    fight for public money, public code still,
    and we see more and more commitments. But
  • 26:10 - 26:15
    at the same time, we need to also follow
    up with the implementation. As we have
  • 26:15 - 26:19
    seen, for example, with the European
    Commission, their open source strategy,
  • 26:19 - 26:24
    which is called think open but full of
    loopholes. Now it's important to see that
  • 26:24 - 26:29
    there is a good implementation because
    this is key. Papers are important. Sure,
  • 26:29 - 26:33
    this is a 1st step, but now we need to
    make sure that there's also a proper
  • 26:33 - 26:40
    implementation. And if you want to support
    us with our demand, you can also sign this
  • 26:40 - 26:43
    campaign. If you haven't done already or
    reach out to us, we have several
  • 26:43 - 26:49
    activities. We have an activity package
    telling you how you can contact your local
  • 26:49 - 26:53
    administration and convince them to use
    free software. Lots of our volunteers are
  • 26:53 - 26:59
    doing this, sometimes successfully. And so
    I think this is important that we continue
  • 26:59 - 27:05
    to talk about the advantages of free
    software and also use the example from the
  • 27:05 - 27:11
    crisis, I just have shown to you and
    continue our efforts to convince
  • 27:11 - 27:19
    administration to switch to free software.
    And with this, I want to end my talk and
  • 27:19 - 27:25
    would be up for questions if there are
    some in the pad, in the meantime.
  • 27:25 - 27:34
    Herald: Thank thank you very, very much.
    There's essentially 1 question popping up
  • 27:34 - 27:41
    on our pads here. And this is about this
    term of digital sovereignty and whether
  • 27:41 - 27:49
    digital sovereignty funded by national
    state actors would eventually mean that we
  • 27:49 - 27:55
    are sooner or later hacking for the
    national security agencies of our
  • 27:55 - 28:01
    countries. And what that would imply to
    for free software and the ethics of free
  • 28:01 - 28:07
    software.
    Alex: I mean, there was a bit of
  • 28:07 - 28:13
    background noise, so I'm not sure if I
    fully got it, but it's about if we would
  • 28:13 - 28:23
    like, if our community would like hack or
    fix governments software, if this is in
  • 28:23 - 28:26
    line with the ethical principles of free
    software, was this was, was this the
  • 28:26 - 28:37
    question or did I get it wrong?
    H: Yes. (not audible)
  • 28:37 - 28:45
    A: But I'll try to I try to address this,
    I think. Yeah. Governmental bodies are
  • 28:45 - 28:52
    using free software or should use free
    software as they are handling our data as
  • 28:52 - 29:00
    they are communicating with us. And for
    sure, also governmental bodies are using
  • 29:00 - 29:06
    software for surveillance, for example,
    for reasons we might personally don't
  • 29:06 - 29:14
    like. And this is very different. So and
    nobody should be forced to like invest the
  • 29:14 - 29:23
    time or resources to have governments to
    fix their software. And it's also again on
  • 29:23 - 29:30
    procurement so as said free software
    doesn't need to be priceless. So although
  • 29:30 - 29:37
    for us, it's important that if public
    bodies are using software, then whatever,
  • 29:37 - 29:43
    it is it should be free software and this
    gives us the chance to see code and, for
  • 29:43 - 29:50
    example, to discuss. And this also opens
    debates. If you want a solution which is
  • 29:50 - 29:55
    going to work like this, and this doesn't
    necessarily mean that we contribute to the
  • 29:55 - 30:02
    code, but we can also contribute to a
    software by discussing what it does. Is
  • 30:02 - 30:05
    this something we want to have for our
    society. Is this a software we really
  • 30:05 - 30:11
    need? And this is, I think, only possible
    if we have something like, for example, a
  • 30:11 - 30:18
    repository for governmental software which
    is used and then we can like check what
  • 30:18 - 30:25
    this is, what they are doing. And it
    doesn't mean that that you have to do it,
  • 30:25 - 30:28
    but you are free to do it. And I think
    this is important and this is also what we
  • 30:28 - 30:35
    have seen during the crisis. So there are
    some general or fundamental discussions
  • 30:35 - 30:42
    about the apps and about tracing and so
    on. But this is possible because it is
  • 30:42 - 30:45
    free software, and that doesn't mean that
    you have to contribute to the code or that
  • 30:45 - 30:50
    you have to use it. So as we said, it's
    important that it's that people can use it
  • 30:50 - 30:57
    voluntarily, but still you can contribute
    even if you just debate around it. So and
  • 30:57 - 31:01
    I think this is important and that is why
    we want free software. And I think in the
  • 31:01 - 31:04
    end, it's better to have a free software
    project where you can see what the
  • 31:04 - 31:08
    software does and that are a government
    tells you transparently what they are
  • 31:08 - 31:11
    going to do instead of doing it completely
    secretly.
  • 31:11 - 31:20
    H: Very well, so that demonstrates that we
    that we have maybe another problem or a
  • 31:20 - 31:26
    new problem, but a constructive one,
    something we can work on. And this whole
  • 31:26 - 31:32
    issue of digital sovereignty and national
    state actors must be discussed. As you
  • 31:32 - 31:39
    said, this was the main question from the
    pad. So thank you for the talk this
  • 31:39 - 31:42
    morning.
    A: Yeah, thanks for having me. Yeah, it
  • 31:42 - 31:45
    was fun. And yeah,enjoy the rest of the
    conference then.
  • 31:45 - 31:54
    H: Yes, I hope you do too. Thank you.
    A: Yeah. Thanks a lot. See you. Bye bye.
  • 31:54 - 31:59
    *Since. Everything is licensed under a CC
    BY 4.0. And it is all for the community,
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    to download for every bot.*
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    Subtitles created by c3subtitles.de
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Title:
Public Money? Public Code! During Corona
Description:

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Video Language:
English
Duration:
32:03

English subtitles

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