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Free software group hints of court action to enforce procurement rules

Joinup - Free software advocates in Finland are warning that they will take the country's public administrations to court if they continue to break national and European rules when procuring IT solutions. The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is calling on public authorities to allow competition and to stop procuring specific brands or products.

Last week, the FSFE's Finland chapter announced the start of a campaign to make procurement rules clear to public administrations. "That is our primary aim. But we're going to write down the names of all the officials involved, to use as evidence in court in case they continue to make mistakes", warned Otto Kekäläinen, FSFE's Finland coordinator.

The FSFE says that too many public procurement procedures contain mistakes. The advocacy group recently "skimmed" over three hundred procurement notices, and found clear violations of procurement law in fourteen (almost five per cent). "Public administrations are not aware of the rules, or don't care enough about them", concludes Kekäläinen.

The group's campaign is supported by several open source IT service providers. In case a public institution continues to flout the rules, these companies will take them to court, with the FSFE as their legal representative.

The FSFE will contact all public authorities to request fixing of the procurement errors.