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The FDP parliamentary group wants to oblige Berlin authorities by law to communicate electronically with citizens from 2025.

In a motion that the parliamentary group wants to introduce next Thursday in the first parliamentary session after the summer break and that is available to the Tagesspiegel, the Senate is asked to give citizens and companies “a legal right to use digital services in exchange with the Berlin authorities to concede”.

Digital policy, regulation, artificial intelligence: the briefing on digitization

Among other things, nationwide access to the Internet and the digital ability to act in dealing with authorities must be guaranteed. “These rights must be formulated in such concrete terms that they can be asserted in court,” demands the FDP.

The Liberals link the introduction of such a legal right to the implementation of the electronic file in the Berlin administration, which is currently planned for January 1, 2025 after the failure of the first tender.

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FDP digitization expert Roman-Francesco Rogat, who prepared the application, wants to increase the pressure on the authorities to finally make decisive progress in the administrative digitization that has been delayed for years. “The legal claim is intended to speed up the process as a whole,” said Rogat.

He compared the required right to digital communication with the authorities with the legal right to a daycare place and explained that, just like this, digital communication with the authorities and access to a fast internet connection should also be legally enforceable from 2025. Experience shows that solutions would then be found in the event of a dispute, said Rogat.

Meanwhile, the coalition of SPD, Greens and Left wants to noticeably reduce the administration’s dependence on commercial software licenses. In a motion by the coalition factions, which they also want to bring to the plenary session next Thursday, the Senate is asked to ensure in future when purchasing software “that open-source alternatives are actively sought.”

Software specially developed for administration should always be placed under free licenses, and funding programs for IT projects should also follow this approach, it is said. Whenever software has to be procured in the future, an “open source reservation” should apply in principle, thus ensuring the independence of the entire IT landscape.

In order to support the authorities in changing the previous procurement practice, an “Open Source Competence Center” is to be set up at the IT Service Center (ITDZ).

The reasons given for the required departure from the previous approach are the growing complexity in the software architecture and the threat of dependence on monopolists. “It is therefore important to develop a strategy of digital sovereignty,” says the paper. In this way, economic and political independence from commercial offers and license models should be achieved.