Bill Text - HB418 (2012)

(New Title) relative to the use of open source software and open data formats by state agencies and relative to the adoption of a statewide information policy regarding open government data standards.

Revision: April 3, 2012, midnight



15Mar2011… 0733h

01/18/12 0009s





AN ACT relative to the use of open source software and open data formats by state agencies and relative to the adoption of a statewide information policy regarding open government data standards.

SPONSORS: Rep. Cohn, Merr 6; Rep. Pratt, Hills 7; Rep. Lambert, Hills 27; Rep. Cox, Merr 6; Rep. B. MacMahon, Rock 10; Rep. Davenport, Rock 12

COMMITTEE: Executive Departments and Administration


This bill requires state agencies to consider open source software when acquiring software and promotes the use of open data formats by state agencies. This bill also directs the commissioner of information technology to develop a statewide information policy based on principles of open government data.

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

15Mar2011… 0733h

01/18/12 0009s




In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twelve

AN ACT relative to the use of open source software and open data formats by state agencies and relative to the adoption of a statewide information policy regarding open government data standards.

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

5:1 Statement of Purpose and Findings.

I. The general court finds that:

(a) The cost of obtaining software for the state’s computer systems has become a significant expense to the state;

(b) The personnel costs of maintaining the software on the state’s computers has also become a significant expense to the state;

(c) It is necessary for the functioning of the state that computer data owned by the state be permanently available to the state throughout its useful life;

(d) To guarantee the succession and permanence of public data, it is necessary that the state’s accessibility to that data be independent of the goodwill of the state’s computer system suppliers and the conditions imposed by these suppliers;

(e) It is in the public interest to ensure interoperability of computer systems through the use of software and products that promote open, platform-neutral standards;

(f) It is also in the public interest that the state be free, to the greatest extent possible, of conditions imposed by parties outside the state’s control on how, and for how long, the state may use the software it has acquired; and

(g) It is not in the public interest and it is a violation of the fundamental right to privacy for the state to use software that, in addition to its stated function, also transmits data to, or allows control and modification of its systems by, parties outside of the state’s control.

II. The general court further finds that:

(a) The acquisition and widespread deployment of open source software can significantly reduce the state’s costs of obtaining and maintaining software;

(b) Open source software guarantees that its encoding of data is not tied to a single provider;

(c) Open source software enables interoperability through adherence to open, platform-neutral standards;

(d) Open source software contains no restrictions on how, or for how long, it may be used; and

(e) Since open source software fully discloses its internal operations, it can be audited, at any time and by anyone of the state’s choosing, for internal functions that are contrary to the public’s interests and rights.

III. Therefore, it is in the public interest that the state of New Hampshire consider using open source software in its public computing functions.

5:2 New Subdivision; Department of Information Technology; Open Standards. Amend RSA 21-R by inserting after section 9 the following new subdivision:

Open Standards

21-R:10 Definitions. In this subdivision:

I. “Open source software” means software that guarantees the user:

(a) Unrestricted use of the software for any purpose;

(b) Unrestricted access to the respective source code;

(c) Exhaustive inspection of the working mechanisms of the software;

(d) Use of the internal mechanisms and arbitrary portions of the software, to adapt them to the needs of the user;

(e) Freedom to make and distribute copies of the software; and

(f) Modification of the software and freedom to distribute modifications of the new resulting software, under the same license as the original software.

II. “Open standards” means specifications for the encoding and transfer of computer data that:

(a) Is free for all to implement and use in perpetuity, with no royalty or fee;

(b) Has no restrictions on the use of data stored in the format;

(c) Has no restrictions on the creation of software that stores, transmits, receives, or accesses data codified in such way;

(d) Has a specification available for all to read, in a human-readable format, written in commonly accepted technical language;

(e) Is documented, so that anyone can write software that can read and interpret the complete semantics of any data file stored in the data format;

(f) If it allows extensions, ensures that all extensions of the data format used by the state are themselves documented and have the other characteristics of an open data format;

(g) Allows any file written in that format to be identified as adhering or not adhering to the format; and

(h) If it includes any use of encryption or other means of data obfuscation, provides that the encryption or obfuscation algorithms are usable in a royalty-free, nondiscriminatory manner in perpetuity, and are documented so that anyone in possession of the appropriate encryption key or keys or other data necessary to recover the original data is able to write software to access the data.

III. “Proprietary software” means software that does not fulfill all of the guarantees provided by open source software.

IV. “State agency” means any department, commission, board, institution, bureau, office, or other entity, by whatever name called, including the legislative branch of state government, established in the state constitution, statutes, or executive orders. The judicial branch of state government is explicitly exempted from this definition.

21-R:11 Use of Open Source Software by State Agencies.

I. For all software acquisitions, each state agency, in consultation with the department of information technology, shall:

(a) Consider whether proprietary or open source software offers the most cost effective software solution for the agency, based on consideration of all associated acquisition, support, maintenance, and training costs;

(b) Except as provided in subparagraphs (d) and (e), acquire software products primarily on a value-for-money basis, based on consideration of the cost factors as described in subparagraph (a);

(c) Provide a brief analysis of the purchase decision, including consideration of the cost factors in subparagraph (a), to the chief information officer;

(d) Avoid the acquisition of products that do not comply with open standards for interoperability or data storage; and

(e) Avoid the acquisition of products that are known to make unauthorized transfers of information to, or permit unauthorized control of or modification of a state agency’s computer.

II. All state procurement documents related to software acquisitions shall include language that requires adherence to this section.

21-R:12 Metrics; Inventory of Open Source Software Used by State Agencies. Each state agency shall maintain an inventory of all proprietary and open source software products used by the agency.

21-R:13 Use of Open Data Formats by State Agencies.

I. The commissioner shall assist state agencies in the purchase or creation of data processing devices or systems that comply with open standards for the accessing, storing, or transferring of data. The commissioner shall:

(a) Ensure that any new data standards which the state of New Hampshire defines and to which it owns all rights are open standards compliant.

(b) Use open standards unless specific project requirements preclude use of an open data format.

(c) Reexamine existing data stored in a restricted format to which the state of New Hampshire does not own the rights every 4 years to determine if the format has become open and, if not, whether an appropriate open standard exists.

(d) Make readily accessible, on the state website, documentation on open data formats used by the state of New Hampshire. When data in open format is made available through the state’s website, a link shall be provided to the corresponding data format documentation.

21-R:14 Statewide Information Policy on Open Government Data Standards.

I. The commissioner shall develop a statewide information policy based on the following principles of open government data. According to these principles, open data is data that is:

(a) Complete. All public data is made available, unless subject to valid privacy, security, or privilege limitations.

(b) Primary. Data is collected at the source, with the highest possible level of granularity, rather than in aggregate or modified forms.

(c) Timely. Data is made available as quickly as necessary to preserve the value of the data.

(d) Accessible. Data is available to the widest range of users for the widest range of purposes.

(e) Machine processable. Data is reasonably structured to allow automated processing.

(f) Nondiscriminatory. Data is available to anyone, with no requirement of registration.

(g) Nonproprietary. Data is available in a format over which no entity has exclusive control, with the exception of national or international published standards.

(h) License-free. Data is not subject to any copyright, patent, trademark, or trade secret regulation. Reasonable privacy, security, and privilege restrictions may be allowed.

II. The information policy developed under paragraph I shall include a mechanism for adoption and review by each state agency. Each agency that adopts the policy shall designate a contact person responsible for oversight and implementation of open government data standards for that agency. The contact shall act as a liaison between the department, the implementing agency, and the public in matters related to open government data standards. The commissioner shall include the status of the development and implementation of the statewide information policy based on open government data standards in the quarterly report to the legislative oversight committee under RSA 21-R:9.

III. In developing the open data standards policy, the commissioner shall solicit information from the secretary of state relative to state archiving practices and the collection of data for historical purposes.

5:3 Department of Information Technology; Duties of Commissioner Regarding Acquisition of Information Systems. Amend RSA 21-R:4, I to read as follows:

I. Providing technical information technology consultation to all executive branch agencies and to any other agency that requests it, including technical advice consistent with the principles of open government data established in RSA 21-R:11 through RSA 21-R:14 during the development or acquisition of information systems.

5:4 Effective Date. This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.

Approved: March 12, 2012

Effective Date: May 11, 2012