Digital Agenda Commissioner Kroes publicly supporting open standards

By EDRi · June 16, 2010

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Deutsch: [Kommissarin für die Digitale Agenda unterstützt offene Standards |]

Macedonian: [Комесарот за Дигиталната агенда… |]

On 10 June 2010, European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda
Neelie Kroes addressed the Open Forum Europe 2010 Summit on interoperability
and open standards, stating she was planning to overhaul the European
Interoperability Framework to make ICT standard-setting more transparent and
make sure public administrations use open source formats to prevent the
development of monopolies in the sector.

Kroes has been supporting interoperability and open standards for some time
now and she emphasized again her belief that choosing open standards is a
very smart business decision.

She reminded she had proposed five actions in the Digital Agenda for Europe
in order to “have more and better standards recognised and created in
Europe, to make better use of these standards and to improve
interoperability in the absence of standards.”

The new framework that will be developed would include a requirement for
standard-setting bodies, such as World Wide Web Consortium and Oasis, to
have disclosure rules in order to make it easier for others to use and adapt
the technology.

The Commissioner believes appropriate rules for ex-ante disclosures of
essential Intellectual Property Rights and licensing conditions in
standard-setting contexts must be promoted. Transparency of the process is
absolutely necessary. “In some cases, the choice of a technology in a
standard might be obvious in the absence of technical alternatives. Costs
and licensing conditions are less relevant in such cases. But in most cases
there are competing options and it makes clear sense to also consider this

She criticised the authorities that get stuck into proprietary technology
for a long time. “This is a waste of public money that most public bodies
can no longer afford.”

Moreover, she also warned that anti-trust litigation was not how she planned
to increase interoperability in the market. She expressed her intention to
explore “all options to ensure that significant market players cannot just
choose to deny interoperability with their product. You no doubt remember
that I have some experience with reticent high-tech companies: I had to
fight hard and for several years until Microsoft began to license missing
interoperability information. Complex anti-trust investigations followed by
court proceedings are perhaps not the only way to increase interoperability.”

This position comes in line with the EU telecoms ministers April declaration
to support the freely-available Open Document Format in eGovernment

Neelie Kroes Address at Open Forum Europe 2010 Summit: ‘Openness at the
heart of the EU Digital Agenda’ Brussels (10.06.2010)

Kroes presses ahead with open IT standards (11.06.2010)

EDRi-gram: Two Digital Agendas, but one European Union (19.05.2010)

EDRi-gram: (D’) Evolution Summit 2010 and the Granada Declaration