May 3, 2010

iPad for the European Parliament displays interoperability and security carelessness

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Berlin, May 31th 2010 — The European Parliament would spend five million EUR to give an Apple iPad to every Member of Parliament under an “IT mobility” budget earmark, an investigative journalist of the British newspaper Times asserts. An iPad costs around 550 Euro and there are 736 representatives. The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure recommends assessing the interoperability and security impact prior to technology adoption.

Benjamin Henrion, President of the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII), says: “Money should be better spent in improving the European Parliament´s video website. Right now it is still a piece of junk that does not work unless you have Microsoft or Adobe installed. We complained of this situation with the OpenParliament petition two years ago, and since then, nothing happened.”

“In Spain we prevent such technical discrimination by smart regulation. Interoperability is mandated by law for the public sector as a natural right of citizens”, explains Alberto Barrionuevo from the FFII Open Standards working group.

MEPs should take the security aspects seriously, warns Rene Mages from FFII France. “When foreign companies provide communication devices and software for our democratic representatives we should be paranoid about security. Full disclosure of source code and interface information is essential to lower the risk of backdoors for American or Asian services.” Ten years ago a scandal over Lotus Notes software backdoors for the US National Security Agency rocked the Swedish Parliament.

Links

Times Online article: The European Parliament parl will expend €5 Mio. in to give an iPad to every MEP
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article7134077.ece

OpenParliament.eu Initiative
http://openparliament.eu/

TP: Only NSA can listen, so that’s OK
http://www.heise.de/tp/r4/artikel/2/2898/1.html

OpenParliament petition:
http://openparliament.eu/

Contact

FFII Office Berlin
Malmöer Str. 6
D-10439 Berlin
Fon: +49-30-41722597
Fax Service: +49-721-509663769
Email: office (at) ffii.org
http://www.ffii.org/

About FFII

The FFII is a not-for-profit association, dedicated to the development of information goods for the public benefit, based on copyright, free competition, and open standards. More than 1,000 members, 3,500 companies and 100,000 supporters have entrusted the FFII to act as their voice in public policy questions concerning exclusion rights in data processing.