Architect: E-Election Code Should Not Be a Free-for-All

Tarvi Martens Photo: Postimees/Scanpix
7/18/2013 10:59 AM
Category: Sci-Tech

Tarvi Martens, a creator of Estonia's e-election system, countered recent criticism of an open-source license, saying the continued development of the Internet voting software code must be conducted in a controlled and coordinated environment.

Last week, the National Electoral Committee, which Martens heads, publicly released the source code of Estonia's e-voting software. However, the binding Creative Commons license that accompanied the code was the topic of heated debate among IT specialists who disagreed with the restrictions on amending the code.

Yet Martens said allowing derivative code and free sharing of it was not the goal of publishing the details of the e-election system.

"The license under which the source code was released certainly has restrictions - it does not allow the creation and publications of new versions of the system. In that sense we are dealing with an open source variant that might be seen as slightly unconventional by people who perhaps expected to be able to get their hands on it and write their own versions of it and circulate them," Martens told uudised.err.ee on Wednesday.

"But that's not our aim  - the development of such a system must be kept under control and centrally coordinated," Martens said, adding that publicly viewable comments and proposals are welcomed on the website where the code was released.


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