Public administrations that continue to ignore the policy to implement open standards in their ICT solutions should be fined, says Dutch MP Astrid Oosenbrug. “Public administrations should come to grips with open data, open standards and open source. With all their talk about regaining the trust of their citizens and creating a participatory society, public administrations should take a cue from open source communities.”
Dutch municipalities are particularly slow to adopt the open standard policy, Oosenbrug, MP for the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA), added. “By not implementing open standards they are putting citizens at a disadvantage.” She wants the Interior Minister to fine municipalities and urge them into action.
On Monday in The Hague, MP Oosenbrug addressed ICT service providers at a meeting organised by open source firms EnterPriseDB and RedHat. She explained how she and Socialist Party MP Sharon Gesthuizen in April organised majority support for their parliamentary resolution, which requires the government to enforce the use of open ICT standards and to create a level playing field for open source. The resolution also demands public administrations to devise exit strategies to get rid of IT vendor lock-in. “It is time to enforce these policies”, Oosenbrug said on Monday.
“Too many Dutch public administrations are behind the times” said the MP, formerly a senior system administrator. “They still think open source is cobbled together by hackers and hobbyists. They should become better informed, and meet the providers of professional services on the quality software that is open source.”
The Parliament should lead by example, said the MP. “We’re actively promoting our colleagues to use LocalBox”. This software solution allows cryptographically protected file storage and file sharing services. The software is being developed by six Dutch public agencies including the Parliament, the Tax and Customs Administration and the Council of State.
MP Oosenbrug said that government representatives now agree that the Dutch Court of Audit has failed in its 2011 review on open source. That review was largely negative, Oosenbrug says, because the Court of Audit took a very limited view. “The Interior Minister promised to lock the report away.”