26. April 2020

Parliament letter on #EUvsVirus Hackathon


Dear Commissioner Gabriel,

The European Commission, in close collaboration with the EU member states, will host a panEuropean hackathon on 24-26 April to connect civil society, innovators, partners and investors across Europe in order to develop innovative solutions for coronavirus-related challenges.

While we support EU-wide hackathons, the website unfortunately neither encourages explicitlyfree and open source software as solution, nor does it mention the type of licence under which software can be reused. 1

Only the publication of source code can increase citizens trust in software, incentivise the broadest uptake across borders, while making sure that public money used for the development of such tools remain publicly available.

This approach is equally in line with the recently published Common EU Toolbox for Member tates on Mobile applications to support contact tracing in the EU’s fight against COVID-19. The approach developed by Member States, and supported by the Commission, which suggested that in order to support transparency and interoperability, the publication of source
code and peer reviews are encouraged and recommended. 2

And the same stance that the European Data Protection Board took, calling for source code tobe made public for the widest possible scrutiny by the scientific community. 3

Therefore, we ask you to explicitly encourage free and open source software as solution,
published under free software licence as part of the #EUvsVirus challenge.

Yours sincerely,
Marcel Kolaja, Vice-President of the European Parliament
Klára Dobrev, Vice-President of the European Parliament
Patrick Breyer (Greens/EFA)
Rasmus Andresen (Greens/EFA)
Karen Melchior (Renew)
David Cormand (Greens/EFA)
Michael Bloss (Greens/EFA)
Francisco Guerreiro (Greens/EFA)
Klemen Grošelj (Renew)
Cornelia Ernst (GUE)
Salima Yenbou (Greens/EFA)
Petra Kammerevert (S&D)
Attila Ara-Kovács (S&D)
Clara Ponsatí Obiols (NI)
Milan Brglez (S&D)
Yana Toom (Renew)
Mikuláš Peksa (Greens/EFA)
Ivan Štefanec (EPP)
Petra De Sutter (Greens/EFA)
Nils Torvalds (Renew)
Carles Puigdemont i Casamajó (NI)
Antoni Comín i Oliveres (NI)
Michal Šimečka (Renew)
Anna Cavazzini (Greens/EFA)
Markéta Gregorová (Greens/EFA)
Jutta Paulus (Greens/EFA)
Sergey Lagodinsky (Greens/EFA)
Virginie Joron (ID)
Petros Kokkalis (GUE)
Tilly Metz (Greens/EFA)
Eva Kaili (S&D)
Svenja Hahn (Renew)
Malin Björk (GUE)
Alviina Alametsä (Greens/EFA)

1 https://euvsvirus.org/#
2 https://ec.europa.eu/health/sites/health/files/ehealth/docs/covid-19_apps_en.pdf
3 https://edpb.europa.eu/news/news/2020/twenty-first-plenary-session-european-data-protection-board-letterconcerning_en