Opinion of the Commission of access of administrative documents of January 8th 2015

Pursuant to a request of a researcher for the communication of the source code of the software used to estimate the income tax of private persons, the Director of the General Directorate of Public Finance (Direction Générale des Finances Publiques - DGFiP) refused such communication on the basis that the processing necessary to render the files exploitable would be too significant.

The claimant instituted proceedings before the Commission of access of administrative documents (Commission d’accès aux documents administratifs - CADA) in order to gain access to the requested source code.

In its opinion n°20144578 dated January 8th 2015, the CADA concluded that the source code of an administrative software is an administrative document in accordance with article 1 of the July 17th 1978 Act n° 78-753 introducing changes for the improvement of relations between the administration and the public and modifying multiple provisions of public law. Thus the CADA considers that the source code may be passed on to any person who has made a request in accordance with article 2 of the July 17th 1978 Act so long as such communication does not impair the investigation of tax law violations.

Therefore, the CADA’s opinion is in favor of the communication of the requested source code in the form in which it is available to the administration.

The CADA further clarifies that in the absence of a copyright of any third party the enquirer is free to use the disclosed source code.

Autres news