Snowden: Public money shouldn’t fund software the public isn’t allowed to fix

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Paul Brown writes, “The FSFE’s ‘Public Money? Public Code!’ campaign wants to convince lawmakers that software created with public funds should be made available to the public under Free Software licences.

“Currently, most software in the public administrations is locked away behind restrictive licenses. Edward Snowden has weighed in on the campaign and says that the security of closed source software should be a major concern for public administrations:

“[Closed source software] radically increases the difficulty of discovering both accidental and intentional security flaws in critical software. […] Unauditable code is a liability that states can no longer subsidize with special legal privileges without incurring a cost denominated in lives.”

Plus it is a major economic burden for citizens. Even if there is a solution for problem created for one public institution, another institution wanting to solve the same issue will have to commission a similar solution and the taxpayer has to foot the bill twice, or, indeed, many times.

Other problems caused by closed source software cited on the campaign website concern security (or lack thereof) of sensitive information collected and stored by unaudited software on public servers, unaffordable updates (the cause of the Wannacry crisis that hit back in May), vendor lock-in (which is when a client becomes so dependent on provider they cannot break free), and just common sense in doing what is right.

If you agree that it is public money, it should be public code as well, then sign the open letter, sharing the video, and spreading the word on social media using the #publiccode hashtag.