MSFT’s Peruvian Marching Orders

The Peruvian government is considering a bill that mandates that public agencies use open source code to run their systems, to guarantee “free access to public information by the citizen, permanence of public data and security of the State and citizens.” The Register has reprinted two remarkable documents related to the bill. The first is a pack of disingenuous FUD (allegedly) from the GM of Microsoft Peru; the second is the fantastically lucid and rhetorically brilliant response (allegedly) from Peruvian Congressman David Villanueva Nunez. This is a must-read doc.

To guarantee the free access of citizens to public information, it is indespensable that the encoding of data is not tied to a single provider. The use of standard and open formats gives a guarantee of this free access, if necessary through the creation of compatible free software.

To guarantee the permanence of public data, it is necessary that the usability and maintenance of the software does not depend on the goodwill of the suppliers, or on the monopoly conditions imposed by them. For this reason the State needs systems the development of which can be guaranteed due to the availability of the source code.

To guarantee national security or the security of the State, it is indispensable to be able to rely on systems without elements which allow control from a distance or the undesired transmission of information to third parties. Systems with source code freely accessible to the public are required to allow their inspection by the State itself, by the citizens, and by a large number of independent experts throughout the world. Our proposal brings further security, since the knowledge of the source code will eliminate the growing number of programs with *spy code*.

Dig that third graf — we can’t trust your proprietary code because of spyware; is it possible that Hollywood’s call for “trusted computing” (i.e., computers that assume the user can’t be trusted) will cause the world’s governments to go all open-source? Link Discuss (Thanks, Charlie!)