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NO: Ministry uses open source version control system

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The Norwegian Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development used 'Subversion', an open source version control system, to publish online the first part of the source code for the government's eVoting system.

Subversion is a software-versioning and revision-control system distributed under a free license (Apache License, Version 2.0). According to its website, "Subversion exists to be universally recognized and adopted as an open-source, centralized version control system characterized by its reliability as a safe haven for valuable data; the simplicity of its model and usage; and its ability to support the needs of a wide variety of users and projects, from individuals to large-scale enterprise operations."

As regards the code of the (non-free) Norwegian eVoting system, it can be viewed through a web interface or downloaded locally at https://source.evalg.stat.no/svn/. The Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development continuously updated the source code as the eVoting system was finalised for the municipal and county council elections held on 12 September 2011. Detailed documentation was also made available in order to simplify the code’s understanding. The publication of the code contributes to more transparency and better control of the system.

Liv Merete Wiker, Head of Communications at the ministry, said: "Trust is vital for the Norwegian electoral system. It is therefore important that everyone who wishes to do so can find out how the system works. In order to safeguard this principle, the ministry is now publishing the source code for the eVoting system. In this way those who wish to do so, and who understand computer programming, can download it and inspect it."

Anyone can download and examine the source code, regardless of location, but it may only be used for conducting Norwegian elections. Programmers are able to read its instructions and thus understand what the computer will do. This does not mean that someone who reads the code can see how people vote.

The Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development established in August 2008 the E-vote 2011-project aimed at implementing eVoting trials at the municipal elections of 2011 in selected municipalities. These trials will help provide the required experience upon which the Parliament can base a decision on any introduction of large-scale eVoting in Norway and the prospective timeframe for such a launch.

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