Not-for-profit open technology organisation OpenUK has announced the launch of a parliamentary group to further the cause of open technologies in the UK economy, and to discuss the commitments that the community can be held to in order to maintain security.
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The Open Technology (OT) All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) will seek to help the government, as well as organisations interested in implementing open source solutions, to realise the role of open source within the UK economy. The group was launched in a post by OpenUK, and will start its conversations on 1 December.
It's hoped that in expanding the government’s awareness of the benefits of open source software and technology, businesses and consumers might see improved efficiency and user experience across services. Organisations across a range of sectors are undergoing digital transformation, and looking to capture more data than ever to facilitate processes such as big data analytics. The OT APPG will illustrate the use cases of open source in this process.
The group gives the example of the energy sector and NHS, with prominent voices in each arguing for any new central software projects to be made open source. Energy suppliers face a surge in smart meter traffic, which will require the implementation of robust data caching and compression solutions in which open source could play a role. Meanwhile, the Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC) ambitious NHS App targets state that all NHS trusts will have electronic health records by 2025.
The OT APPG will also seek to widen discussion around the sustainability of the open source community, and how it might be supported and expanded by government and businesses. It aims to improve understanding of the community’s current sustainability, and establish the steps to be taken to ensure that key open source technologies can continue to be used.
OpenUK acknowledges the risks of open source, noting that wider use of open technologies requires an equally-wide commitment by the tech community to fixing issues that are discovered. A recent report by Python data science firm Anaconda suggests that companies are scaling back open source due to security fears, with 40% of respondents stating that their companies had reduced their use of open source in the 12 months before April 2022.
“Open Source software is one of the most powerful ideas of the last 20 years that is creating huge opportunities for UK businesses globally,” stated Lord Maude, who first implemented Government Digital Services (GDS) in 2011.
“I welcome the establishment of the APPG to ensure that the UK remains in the vanguard of the Open Technology community.”
The December 2021 disclosure of the Log4Shell vulnerability, a zero-day which allowed threat actors to execute malicious code on almost any application written in the popular open source framework Apache.
Google has proposed an open source maintenance marketplace, bridging the private and public sectors, to ensure that vital projects are kept up to date and free of vulnerabilities. In May, it revealed its new Assured Open Source Software service, seeking to give organisations a promise of security integrity when implementing open source solutions within their workflows.
IT Pro has approached OpenUK for comment.
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Rory Bathgate is a staff writer at ITPro covering the latest news on artificial intelligence and business networks. He can also be found co-hosting the ITPro Podcast with Jane McCallion, swapping a keyboard for a microphone to discuss the latest learnings with thought leaders from across the tech sector.
In his free time, Rory enjoys photography, video editing, and good science fiction. After graduating from the University of Kent with a BA in English and American Literature, Rory undertook an MA in Eighteenth-Century Studies at King’s College London. He joined ITPro in 2022 as a graduate, after four years in student journalism. You can contact Rory at email@example.com or on LinkedIn.