The Public Sector Open Source Project
Posted Nov 18, 2003 6:03 UTC (Tue) by busigia
Parent article: The Public Sector Open Source Project
The importance of open source to good democratic government may not be obvious at first glance, but it is vital in the longer term, to ensure that the evolution of government become transparent, and verifiable by citizens.
Government uses computers to implement government programs and services. They use computers to record information on individuals, companies, and government officials. They record legal decisions, court proceedings, births, deaths, taxation information.
Some of the data is public. Some data is private. Some data is kept confidential and some is secret.
All of the data and transactions though, that government records, maintains, and creates, must follow on a legal mandate. Every record, and action by a civil servant must rely on an underlying law or regulation, which provides the authority for the specific activity. People should be able to verify all government actions to collect and maintain data, specifically to verify that only specifically permitted data is sought, and no more. Actions of civil servants also need to be continuously logged, and audited to ensure all access to private records is only for official purposes, and no more.
By establishing an open source foothold within government, future citizens will hopefully benefit not only from a more open system of governance, but benefits may be gained providing a new transparency behind the current veils of civil servants' activities, and records (mis)management.
Early on, we need to keep our sights lower, and work to simply dislodge unnecessary and potentially insecure black box code from desktops and servers, but larger goals for systematic implementation of open source implementations for state, and municipal systems are needed. We all need better systems to improve our governments' accountabilities, and safeguard our tax dollars from the abuses and threats of black boxes, and closed door dealings.
to post comments)