Digital Agenda : the EU Commission favors obscurantism over an innovative and open Information Society

Paris, May 17th, 2010.

On Tuesday, May 18th, the European Commission should publish its digital agenda. In its latest draft published, « open standards », which are the only way to ensure real interoperability, were excluded from the digital and political landscape in Europe. April is calling for action on promoting an open and innovative information society.

April published on March 30th, 2010 a letter addressed to the European Commission, supporting Commissioner Neelie Kroes' approach in favor of open standards and interoperability in the digital agenda. April was concerned that Commissioner Kroes might be under pressure to remove open standards and interoperability from the digital agenda. The crossing out of the words « open standards » unfortunately shows that those fears were justified.

"The removal of open standards is clearly the result of intense lobbying from the proprietary software companies, which live off their annuities thanks to their policy of control and closing. Open standards are vital for the security and sustainability of the European information systems. Their removal from the digital agenda is a step backwards for a competitive, innovative and open information society that allows for the integration of all in the European market" declared Frédéric Couchet, Executive Director of April.

In the context of ongoing talks on the EIF (European Interoperability Framework), publishing such a document would imply that the Commission has taken the side of obscurantism and acceptance of de facto monopolies over transparency, openness and healthy competition in technological fields. April is calling for action, asking everyone to contact the heads of cabinet of Neelie Kroes, Antonio Tajani (Industry), Michel Barnier (Internal Market and Services) and Joaquín Almunia (Competition) in order to make our voices heard.

La Quadrature du Net published a press release as well entitled "EU Commission: Will Kroes' Digital Agenda endanger freedoms?" regarding other aspects of the Digital Agenda which might threaten the protection of basic freedoms.

About April

Pioneer of free software in France, April has been since 1996 a major player in the democratization and the spread of Free Software and open standards to the general public, professionals and institutions in the French-speaking world. In the digital era that is ours, it also aims to inform the public on the dangers of an exclusive appropriation of information an knowledge by private interests.

The association is made up of more than 5500 Free Software authors and users.

Press Contacts:

Frédéric Couchet, Executive Director, +33 660 688 931