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Release of E-Election Software Code 'Did Not Go Far Enough'

Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

The decision to disclose the source code of Estonia's e-voting software last week has been criticized by many advocates of a free Internet who say it is a half-measure and not in line with open-sourcing good practice.

Their main argument is that the Creative Commons license that was chosen for the software restricts the public from openly sharing changes to improve the code.

"They're calling this the 'open-sourcing' of something, but it's like North Korea holding 'elections,'" a programmer at Skype told ERR News.

Another IT community member, Internet freedom proponent Heiki Ojasild, told "The National Electoral Committee should be recognized for finally listening to professor Tanel Tammet and disclosing the code, but I personally believe the license is one of the initiative's biggest shortcomings."

Criticism of the decision has emerged from the ranks of the Pirate Party and the Estonian Internet Community, as well as GitHub, where the code was released, and a hacker news website.

But Tanel Tammet, a Tallinn University of Technology professor who pushed for releasing the code in the first place, called the negative comments unfounded, saying there is no reason why people should be able to write derivative code. "There's no reason at all why there should be consent to make one's own variations on this code," he said.

Experts speaking to said they were not yet ready to give a quality and security assessment for the code because it is voluminous and they haven't been able to go over all of it yet.

The Estonian National Electoral Committee plans to hold a public meeting in August to discuss new proposals for the code.

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