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Fuzzy  
1. HZN: internacionalizacija sramote 23:12  Rado 
(for English part please scroll down)

Kako sam obavješten, LinuxWorld je objavio osvrt na glasovanje o OOXML standardu u Hrvatskoj i Srbiji: http://www.linuxworld.com/news/2007/092407-ooxml.html

Tako smo postali međunarodno poznati. Nije li prekrasno kad grupa nepoznatih ljudi može osramotiti cijelu jednu državu, a pritom ne samo ostati nekažnjena, već i u potpunoj tajnosti? Eto, zato mislim da se način rada HZN-a mora mijenjati. Jednostavno, javnost MORA znati tko su članovi TO, i mora znati kako je koji glasovao i zašto. Jer ako se danas- sutra ispostavi da se pola ulice u gradu urušilo unatoč tome što su poštivane građevinske norme, neka se zna tko je dao svoj glas baš za takvu normu.

I da, istekao je zakonski rok od 15 dana u kojem mi je HZN trebao ili odgovoriti na pitanja, ili mi jasno objasniti zašto ne mogu dobiti odgovore. Slijedi im, prema proceduri, žalba, na koju moraju odgovoriti u roku od narednih petnaest dana. Ako mi ni tad ne odgovore, slijedi požurnica i još sedam dana, zatim pokrećem upravni spor pred Upravnim sudom Republike Hrvatske. Po dobivanju upravnog spora (a što je sasvim izgledna mogućnost jer su početni stavovi HZN-a zapravo posve neutemeljeni), pokrenut ću prekršajnu prijavu, u kojem slučaju slijede i konkretne kazne: tijelu javne vlasti od 20.000,00 do 100.000,00kn, a odgovornoj osobi u tijelu od 5.000,00 do 10.000,00kn.

Neutemeljenost stava HZN-a dobro potkrepljuje i mišljenje Agencije za zaštitu osobnih podataka, Klasa: 004-02/07-01/27, Urbroj: 567-04/02 -07-02, a koji se nalazi na ovoj adresi:

http://www.azop.hr/Download/2007/07/16/Pravo_na_pristup_informacijama.pdf


Ovdje ću ostaviti samo dva pasusa iz navedenog dokumenta:

“U Agenciji za zaštitu osobnih podataka zaprimljen je dopis u kojem tražite pojašnjenje u vezi
s primjenom Zakona o zaštiti osobnih podataka („Narodne novine“, br. 103/03. i 118/06.) za
slučaj obrade osobnih podataka na način da se imena i funkcija osoba angažiranih u radu
državnih tijela ili tijela s javnim ovlastima, odnosno njihovim pomoćnim stručnim tijelima
učine dostupnim javnosti a bez privole svakog pojedinog ispitanika.”

“Dakle, osobni podaci koji se nalaze u zbirkama podataka vezano za osobe koje su
angažirane u radu državnih tijela ili tijela s javnim ovlastima dati su od strane
ispitanika (fizičke osobe) za svrhu izvršavanja javnih ovlasti koje ima voditelj zbirke
osobnih podataka, te u smislu prethodno citirane odredbe članka 6. Zakona o zaštiti osobnih
podataka za svaku daljnju obradu koja je podudarna sa svrhom prikupljanja nije
potrebna privola ispitanika.”

Drugim riječima, ako tražim popis članova TO sa navedenom svrhom (ispitivanje je li riječ o sukobu interesa), ne samo da mi HZN ne smije zatajiti imena tvrtki članova TO, već na moj upit može (i treba) dati i podatke osoba koje sudjeluju u radu TO. U ovom slučaju to je zapravo potpuno irelevantno, jer su predstavnici tvrtki nebitni, no ovo mišljenje definira jednu jako važnu stvar: sudjelovanje u radu državnih tijela ili tijela s javnim ovlastima znači da je moguće (i zakonito!) dobiti na uvid podatke o članovima tih tijela, a onaj tko ih uskrati može biti pozvan na odgovornost.

Tako to otprilike ide u pravnoj državi.


**********************************************************

(English text here!)

Regarding the recent article about OOXML votes from Croatia and Serbia in LinuxWorld, I would like to add some clarifications.

While the text is generally well done, and I do agree with most of what is written in it, I would like to seize the opportunity to explain few facts.

The first thing a reader should understand is that both Croatia and Serbia are states in transition from Communism to Capitalism. The fact about Communism is that the State is the power. There were human rights, there were liberties, but just as long as you don't touch The State. Or it's institutions.
In this process of transition, both citizens and State institutions have to understand that the power should shift from the state to the people. That's a simple thing called democracy. We're in the moment where some (or rather, many) government institutions still believe that they do not have any responsibility to citizens, and still many citizens are afraid of pointing to government institutions or they just don't believe that they could change anything (because in former regime that really was impossible).

CSI in Croatia is such a body. It's relatively new, made from breaking up of one huge national body for standardisation, measurements and something more. However, at the time of this break-up CSI was not formed with transparency in mind.

This is bad. This is the national standardisation body, yet public can not know who the people responsible for national standards are. And, there's no easy way to find out.

The author of the article has written about my thoughts over that issue:
“Croatian laws keep its national body's votes secret, so the only way for the Croatian public to find out how the process went would be if a board member illegally leaked information out of CSI.”

This, fortunately, is not quite the truth. While at this moment it is not possible to get any information unless it has leaked out due to the way CSI is constituted, The Law is on our side. But I am for a long battle.

The reasoning is this: CSI's initial refusal to disclose the information on members of the commitee that voted uncoditional yes for OOXML was explained as a legal following of one rather nice law that forbids anyone from disclosing personal information to third parties. That's a very nice law indeed, but in this case CSI made a mistake - committee members are, in fact, companies, and companies send representatives to vote on their behalf. Representatives are not important in this case, because I do not care who is sent on behalf of Microsoft Croatia, I am interested in who are member companies in this committee. And there's just no law to prevent me from getting this data. I have the right to get this data, and there's no law protecting something like “corporate privacy”.

CSI might articulate around this problem by stating that this is their business secret, but in this case they are bound to fail again – as a public body, they can not withhold this information because there's actually no legal reason to deny that data. What they can do, and what they're doing now is stalling – refusing to give me any answer. This means that in the end I will have to sue them, and I do believe that I have good ground.

Did I start with something called “transition”? As I had to dig trough legalese, I found out that, if I win, not only would they have to disclose the information, but they are going to be fined as well! So, this is transition – I have the power, but I was just unaware of it, because I was used to old regime and did not fully apprehend the rights that are trickling into my hands. There actually is a legal way to get the data, but it seems nobody tried it out yet, and I'm on my way to try to break trough.


“OOXML procedures were not immune to questionable Microsoft influences worldwide, as in Poland and Sweden, so Linux users in Croatia and Serbia have doubts and questions on this matter.”

I'm not sure about Serbia, but I do believe that, given the state of CSI, there was nothing illegal Microsoft would have done. I do not believe there was any arm twisting from local Microsoft office.

Ok, there was lobbying, as there's always lobbying, and I have heard rumors that the lobbying was particularly heavy on this issue – from both sides! Lobbying is not illegal in Croatia.

I do believe that Microsoft had a big impact in CSI, but mainly trough a loophole – nothing prevents Microsoft to join the committee and bring his partners along. In fact, the system is turned upside down – a company fee for participating in CSI starts from €200/year, but non-profit organizations such as Croatian Linux User Group or HrOpen have to pay €1500/year to participate. As a side note, Microsoft Croatia has far, far less employees than 1001 required to get in same price level with CLUG. In fact, I think they're around 44 (€400/year).

My intention here is to find out whether majority of committee members are Microsoft partners, in which case I can call “conflict of interest” and demand CSI to withdraw their vote. This, of course, would not make any impact on ISO body, but it would at least save us some face in front of the world.

The decision for unconditional yes is disputable, too, as I have confirmed information that there were technical and other objections raised by some members of the committee; if they were accepted we would have conditional positive vote, and at least some dignity saved. But why the objections were not accepted remains unclear to me, as well as what are the rules of this game?

At the end of the day, it turned out that I have dug out far more than I wanted. I have found out (pretty much by myself, as Transparency International and Croatian Helsinki Committee did not bother to answer my e-mails, but thanks to Human Rights Center for some tips) that I do have some power, which is good. Here are the bad things:

national standardisation body is completely opaque to public
standards are defined by a group of companies that can not be controlled by public, nor the public can know whether they're qualified for this important task
members have no obligation to explain their decision
in case of something going bad (think: pharma), there's no clear responsibility (in fact, there is no responsibility!)

Such a system is wide open for abuse by unscrupulous bussiness. This must change.
So, I'm not just out to find out if Microsoft had majority in that committee (again, nothing illegal, it's the system that allows for that, so please – don't blame Microsoft for snatching a chance) and if it did, to change that decision (to save what is left of our dignity).

My other goal is to make CSI more transparent; to do that, I've suggested two very simple new rules that CSI could implement in no time:

a) that company who suggested the standard and it's partners can not participate in decision making process;
b) that every member of the committee has to give written explanation of his decision, and all that should be placed on a web site and made accessible to the public.

I believe this to be fairly simple to implement, but enough to prevent such embarrasments in the future.

P.S. Why so much fuss about OOXML? And, all of a sudden, there's pressure on both (MS and the rest of the world) sides... over just a simple document format... why?
The big picture is simple – enabling people to exchange documents regardless of what office software they're using has a huge financial impact on future sales of MS Office. Microsoft is not going to let that happen, and even small countries like mine count. Were there any violations of law? No. Were there irregularities? Probably. Have we sold our dignity for benefits of some company? You decide.
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