Open source for the public sector: The example of Schleswig-Holstein

Feat. Marit Hansen, data protection commissioner of the state of Schleswig-Holstein, 24. Mai 2022

Our information society has developed into dependencies that are really quite unacceptable: A few digital corporations dictate prices and terms of business, because no one can avoid using their software any more. We also have to rely blindly on the integrity of international supply chains. So we are far from being in control of the functionality and functioning of our digital infrastructures. Moreover, the systems we use often do not meet European requirements, e.g. in terms of data protection and fundamental rights. At the very least, a reasonable, i.e. controllable, digitality requires that the functioning of our technology remains comprehensible and is also designed to be legally compliant. A keyword that comes up again and again is becoming relevant for the public sector as well: Open Source.

The computer scientist Marit Hansen is the data protection commissioner of the state of Schleswig-Holstein – the first German federal state that has undertaken to convert the entire public administration, schools and authorities completely to open source. In this episode of Digitalgespräch, the expert explains how this strategy came about, how such a plan is put into practice, how to motivate politicians, employees and IT experts to pull together, and also how cooperation is developing within the federal government and Europe. Hansen discusses with hosts Marlene Görger and Petra Gehring what role open source plays for the long-term goal of digital sovereignty, why not only the software but also the hardware must be “open”, what the state’s IT competence looks like – and why, despite all the failures, there is something good to be gained from the slowness in the digitisation of German administration.

Episode 22 of Digitalgespräch, feat. Marit Hansen, data protection commissioner of the state of Schleswig-Holstein, 24 May 2022
Further informationen:

Link to press release “Digitalisierung in Schleswig-Holstein – Chancen durch Open Source” (18 June 2018):

all episodes of Digitalgespräch

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The podcast is in German. At the moment there is no English version or transcript available.