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30min: Source code availability: beyond user freedom

Source code availability: beyond user freedom


Much of the fight for free software has been about ensuring that users of software retain their freedom to tinker. In the meantime, the importance of software has grown beyond the scope of user rights. There are other, public interests in having source code available. The three most pressing reasons in addition to user freedoms are:

Source code availability as an accountability mechanism that potentially substitutes strict liabilities
Source code availability for purposes of government accountability in a democratic society
Source code availability for purposes of data protection to prevent discrimination

This is a potentially slightly political topic with a somewhat longer term perspective than the most pressing issues of today. That said, there is an advocacy element to it as well, I do not believe that most of the user freedoms arguments do resonate that strongly with (organisation) users of software since they do not always recognise the extent to which computer software touches the core of their functions and what source availability means for that, especially in the public sector. I have held a version of this talk before, at the LLW workshop in Barcelona in April 2016 and this would be more geared towards developers than to lawyers.

Source code, accountability, democracy, data protection


Day: 2016-09-04
Start time: 14:45
Duration: 00:30
Track: Beyond Code



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