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lecture: DSM, EIF, RED: Acronyms on the EU level and why they matter for software freedom

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In the coming years, the EU is determined to bring its industries to the digital market and acquire a leading position on the global tech market. In order to achieve this ambitious goal of allowing Europe's "own Google or Facebook" to emerge, the EU has come up with several political and legislative proposals that obviously cannot overlook software. Three or more magic letters combined in an acronym have, therefore, the power to either support innovation and fair competition, or drown the EU in its vendor lock-in completely. The terms "open standards", "open platforms", and Free Software are being used more and more often but does it mean that the EU is "opening" up for software freedom for real? My talk will explain how several current EU digital policies interact with Free Software, and each other, and what does it mean to software freedom in Europe.

Digital single market, European Interoperability Framework, and Radio Equipment Directive – these EU initiatives concern Free Software and Open Standards on the EU level in different ways.



  • Digital Single Market strategy is an umbrella initiative concerning several areas that according to the EU are crucial for digital economy in Europe – ICT standards, cloud, internet of things are just a few key areas identified by the EU. Several recent communications acknowledge the importance of Free Software to digital innovation, however the necessary support may be hampered by promoting FRAND licensing terms that concern patents in standards. I will explain why FRAND is not good for software and why should the EU be cautious in basing its standardisation activities on FRAND.

  • European Interoperability Framework is a set of guidelines for delivering European public services to citizens and businesses in interoperable way. Since the first document adopted in 2004, EIF is going through the third revision in 2016. From Open Standards to “open specifications”, and from openness to transparency - I will give a short overview of the stages of transformation of the framework throughout the years from the Free Software perspective.

  • Radio Equipment Directive – once a set of rules covering a niche of electronic devices, in 2016 has suddenly become a burning topic for Free Software. The directive, adopted in 2014 and entered in force in 2016, introduced a new obligation for radio equipment manufacturers in regard to software compliance, allegedly for increased security. I will explain how this requirement is harmful for software freedom and users’ rights without adding much to the security.