Bruce Byfield over at NewsForge has posted his canadian census experience
. For the first time, canadians can report their national census information online. But there's a catch. Similar to the experience of free software users in the United States who applied for hurricane Katrina aid
, canadian citizens are told to use, with their browser, the proprietary Java Virtual Machine if they wish to access the online census service. In short, this requires one to use software that restricts one's freedom in order to participate in a public online process. Bruce finishes his article with some sound advice for affected canadians -
"If you are a Canadian user of FOSS, you may want to contact -- and educate -- your local Member of Parliament about the situation. You might also contact the Census Help Line (1-877-594-2006), Statistics Canada (1-800-263-8863), and Public Works and Government Services Canada (1-800-622-6232) to state your concerns. If enough people do, then maybe the Canadian government will realize that all residents have the right to access online services, not just those who use the approved (proprietary) software."
Hopefully, governments will quickly realize that to make available online public services only
through the use of proprietary software is discriminatory. Such a setup simply doesn't make any sense.