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Sarah Murphy, MS, Welsh Parliament

State of Open: The UK in 2022

Phase One: “The Open Source Journey”

The rapid adoption of digital technology presents both opportunities and threats. While offering cost reduction and global collaboration, concerns arise over data exploitation and mismanagement. Sarah advocates for Open Source Software (OSS) as a transparent, community-driven alternative, devoid of profit motives. Highlighting Wales’ potential to lead in OSS, she underscores its benefits for education, industry, and community empowerment. In an increasingly competitive digital economy, the call to shift towards systems aligned with societal interests becomes imperative, addressing the often-unseen consequences of proprietary software and social media platforms.

Foreword – Thought Leadership
Sarah Murphy, MS, Welsh Parliament

Today’s world of work, leisure, and communications is changing irrevocably through the rapid adoption of digital technology. These technologies present huge opportunities to reduce costs and duplication of effort for our society; to harness the power of the global community to support and benefit local projects and communities; to assemble huge numbers of people across the planet for causes that ignite positive change.

However, technologies have, and continue to threaten our society through exploitation and mismanagement of our data. As citizens, we put huge faith in public bodies or private companies to regulate and perform in the interests of the people and communities they serve. In many cases this faith is misplaced. Our data is indeed harvested and sold to third parties on a mass scale; we are profiled; decisions are made about us, opinions are formed, often without the knowledge and understanding that this is happening to us.

Open Source Software has all of the advantages of proprietary software but without the objective of increasing shareholder value. There are no oligarchs, no dark money, no licence fees. Just open code to explore, understand, and contribute to technological innovation.

Wales is a post-industrial country working hard to adapt to a new paradigm. As a nation, this presents great opportunities for us to lead in promoting and investing in Open Source Software. We cannot afford to ignore the huge potential of Open Source Software to support education, industry and community empowerment, and the benefits that it can bring to Wales and our people.

The OpenUK report is an opportunity for Wales to encapsulate this. I look forward to increasing the profile and the value of Open Source Software within every educational establishment, workplace, and home.

We must be aware that in an increasingly international and competitive digital economy, we can afford nothing less. It is not an exaggeration to say that many of us using proprietary software and social media platforms are unaware of what we sign up to, we must do what we can to shift to systems that are in our best interests as a society.

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