Re-drafting of Information Technology Bill in Venezuela (Day 2)

Yesterday was the second day of redrafting an Information Technology Bill in Venezuela. The proposed Law is said to go a long way in promoting the use of Free and Open Source Software in the Venezuelan Government.

First, I will give you some insight on how the process works:

  1. Representatives of different interested parties (Government Organizations, Business Organizations, Universities, the Free Software Movement, and Microsoft) meet to redraft the Bill.
  2. The group is divided into sub-groups that analyze the current Bill and propose changes if appropriate.
  3. If there is consensus, the proposal is kept. Otherwise, they are asked to produce two contrasting proposals.
  4. At the end of the discussions, all the proposals are taken to the National Assembly (the equivalent to the Canadian Parliament) where the proposals are approved, modified, or deleted.
  5. The Bill becomes Law

Back to yesterday's meeting, the group met to discuss starting on the Article 7. They were able to discuss up to Article 12 (by yesterday, they were supposed to have covered up to Article 29 of a 89 Articles law. So, they are getting really behind schedule). The Article 12 created a long discussion. This Article deals with the type of technology the Public Administration can use. The current proposal says that:

“The Public Administration could use any type of information technology to achieve their goals in conformity to what is established in this law”

For the people supporting Free and Open Source Software, this article open the doors to an extensive use of proprietary software. Therefore, they recommended for it to be modified or deleted.

Another group considered the article to be OK because they said it guarantees the Freedom of Choice of the Government.

After more than 3 hours of discussion, they did not agree on what to do with Article 12. Today, they are going to present two proposals for that Article. The two of them will be taken to the Parliament as I explained above. In addition, today, they are going to start the discussion on the Features of the Government's Information Technology Infrastructure.

Again, I will keep you posted on how everything progresses.


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