Legal Basis

Legal basis for free and open standards

In the Hague Declaration, the founders of the Digital Standards Organization called on all governments to exclusively procure technology implementing, and in their own activities exclusively employ, free and open digital standards. This call is based on rights and freedoms established in international and national laws.

This page documents the actual articles in international and national law that apply. To submit information to the editors, please email gro.natsigid|tcatnoc#gro.natsigid|tcatnoc.

International law

From the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

  • Article 2. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
  • Article 7. All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
  • Article 13. (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
  • Article 21. (1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives. (2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.

South Africa

From the Bill of Rights of the South African Constitution:

32. Access to information (1) Everyone has the right of access to ­(1) any information held by the state; and (2) any information that is held by another person and that is required for the exercise or protection of any rights.


From the Belgian Constitution:

Article 32 [Information]
Everyone has the right to consult any administrative document and to have a copy made, except in the cases and conditions stipulated by the laws, decrees, or rulings referred to in Article 134.


From the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand, B.E. 2550 (2007):

Section 56. A person shall have the right to know and have access to public data or information in possession of a Government agency, a State agency, a State enterprise or a local government organisation, unless the disclosure of such data or information shall affect the security of the State, public safety or interests of other persons which shall be protected or purport to be personal data, as provided by law.

Constitutional rights

Most democratic constitutions codify the freedom from discrimination, freedom of movement within a state, the right to participate in government, the right of equal access to public services, and the right to access information on oneself or held by the state.

These rights and freedoms could never be fully expressed in the industrial age simply because of geography and communications costs. In the growing digital society, governments have the opportunity to fully express these freedoms and rights through the implementation of e-government based on free and open digital standards. They also have the legal obligation, in most countries, to do this.

The use of constitutional arguments to call on governments to implement e-government based on free and open digital standards has been successful in many countries and we want to see this become one of the defining criteria of a well-functioning democracy.