12 November 2008

A Huge Leap *Back* for Transparency

One of the fundamental rules in an open, democratic society is that government must be transparent to be truly accountable: if you can't see who is doing what, there's no hope of fingering the wrong-doers. Against that background, this is a huge slap in the face of the European Union's citizens:

Marco Cappato MEP asked the Council to provide him the contract concluded by the Council and Microsoft, and the Study on the Open Source realized by the interinstitutional committee on informatics in 2005.


The Council negative answer was motivated saying that "because these contracts establish specific terms and conditions for the European institutions, the divulgation of those information could jeopardize the protection of commercial interest of Microsoft. Acknowledging that the divulgations of the records are not backed by a clear public interest, the Secretariat general concludes that the protection of Microsoft's commercial interests, being one of the commercial partners of the European institutions, prevails on the divulgation for the public interest".

Got that? "Protection of Microsoft's commercial interests ... prevails on the divulgation for the public interest." Microsoft's profits are more important to the European Council than the public interest of 300 million EU citizens....

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