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2004 World Technology Awards Winners & Finalists

Sergio Silveira

Please describe the work that you are doing that you consider to be the most innovative and of the greatest likely long-term significance.

Since I was appointed to be the President-Director of the Brazilian National Information Technology Institute, I have been giving my heart and my best efforts for the stablishment of a national wide politic of free open source software. For a simple but powerful reason: I see governmental use of FOS as an issue unavoidably connected to the democratic principle.

It has been a long and painful path to reach our current democratic stage, after cruel dictatorship decades. Now, in this time of hope, of freedom, Brazilian citizens might have the desire and the right of participating in the acts of government.

As code grows as covenants, as substance of plenty of acts that extend their influence over the life of brazilian citizens, I see it as a natural process that all citizens can control the code. It is a process straightly linked to the sovereignty of our people.

My work has been to extend the open file principle over the code that government runs and, with this, to spread out the values of semiotic democracy. Because of such work, Brazil is now a huge exemple for all civilized countries around the world. Plenty of our Ministries and governmental entities are already adopting free open source software. And more is yet to come.

The idea of semiotic democracy fits also with the concept of universal access to knowledge, of breaking the digital divide. Before my work at ITI, I have been running a digital inclusion program in the city of São Paulo. The goal was to organize plenty of internet points of presence for devoid people, using free open source software. It was a small but pioneer step for the bigger step we are giving now.

A step by which Brazil will enter the XXI century as a new but consolidated democracy, as an example of how great are the possibilities for citizenship development in the information age.

And as I look to a few “closed” years ago and perceive all the “open” miles we have ran till now, I can say, full of hope, and not without a little proud, that within this country:

Future is free.

Brief Biography

Under graduated in Sociology and with a Master Degree in Political Science by the University of São Paulo with the proposition "Power on the Cyberspace: Nation-State, Internet Control and Regulamentation". Doctor by the University of São Paulo, he studies the democratic theory on the information era. He had coordinated the e-Gov Program of the city of São Paulo, from 2001 till 2003,January. In this period, he had formulated and executed the digital inclusion plan of São Paulo. "Telecentros" can be understood as a place where people can use computers and acess Internet without paying and can be helped by supervisors. During his management, the "Telecentros" using GNU/LINUX and non-proprietary solutions reached 85 thousand users.