Secret Microsoft-Ministry Contracts Worth Billions

In the summer of 2006, the HCLU turned to the Ministry of Economy and Transportation and the Ministry of Justice and Law Enforcement requesting public interest data on the billions worth of contracts between the ministries and Microsoft.

The HCLU learned from the press, that in the beginning of 2005, the predecessor Ministry of Information and Telecommunication, under the Tiszasoftware Program, has signed a licence agreement until February 28th, 2008 with Microsoft. The HCLU’s request for data on these contracts has been denied.

The HCLU has also learned from the press, that in 2000 and 2005 the Ministry of Internal Affairs has signed contracts with Getronics Ltd. regarding Microsoft licences. The HCLU also requested access to these contracts, but the ministry’s reply was close-mouthed and copies of the contracts were not provided.

After receiving the denials, the HCLU turned to the Data Protection Commissioner. The Ombudsman, in his statement of July 30th, 2007 voiced his worries, that these contracts restrict and stall the emergence of constitutional rights relating to freedom of information. The Commissioner has called upon the ministries to take the necessary steps in order to comply with the requests relating to these contracts.

To this day, the HCLU has not received any replies from the ministries.

The HCLU is surprised that the ministries are ignoring the statement of the Commissioner and the laws on public interest data. The HCLU also finds it solicitous that such contracts, involving huge amounts of public funds are denied public access.

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