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10.03.09

Government-Microsoft Scandal in Australia is Exposed; BECTA Pays Lip Service

Posted in Australia, Europe, Microsoft at 6:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Australia in tatters

Summary: The arrangement between the Australian Government and Microsoft is revealed and the already-exposed BECTA does ‘damage control’

A few days ago we wrote about the good work of OpenAustralia, which helped expose how the government had been working with Microsoft. Around the same time comes this report from an author who is consistently supportive of Free software.

Microsoft controlling Govt 2.0 funds

The Government 2.0 Taskforce yesterday released a draft contract for those receiving money from its Project Fund, which revealed that any funding contracts will be between successful bidders and Microsoft, not the Commonwealth.

The Project Fund was used by the Taskforce to fund initiatives that will provide input into its final report and building up government agency “web 2.0 capabilities”. The Taskforce has already asked for two rounds of project submissions.

Yet the government has only now revealed that the funding arrangements must be made via Microsoft. It needed to be so because the taskforce was not a legal entity and money was pulled from the Project Fund, according to the government — a partnership with Microsoft that used funds from a special Service Provision Fund.

This is a major scandal and hopefully it’s just the beginning of it. This shows how a foreign commercial entity essentially runs the government rather than the people who elect their officials controlling the government or at least being served by it. The remainder of this article is also eye opening.

Over in the UK, a similar scandal is happening with BECTA, which seems to have turned into some kind of a Microsoft front that helps train (indoctrinate) children for a career in Windows and Office [1, 2, 3]. The heat has apparently gone up so much that BECTA now throws a little token to “open source”.

Schools can now get help from a new community website to help them decide whether open source software might offer benefits for them.

[...]

The website is part of a project supported by Becta which aims to raise the awareness of open source software.

Too little, too late. They merely build a sandbox for people to play in, pretending that they paid more than just lip service to interests other than Microsoft’s. A proper action would actually bring Free software into classrooms, not create a goalless portal (crowdsourcing).

“Government attorneys accuse Microsoft of using its monopoly position to bully, bribe and attempt to collude with others in the industry, while illegally expanding and protecting its Windows franchise.”

The antitrust case: a timeline

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