By Richard Roth, J.D., Editor, the CCH Federal Banking Law Reporter, CCH Bank Compliance Guide, Bank Digest; co-author, Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act—Law, Explanation and Analysis
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has set out an information technology policy that pledges to use open source software, which it defined as “software that allows its recipients to modify and redistribute the source code.” According to a CFPB blog post, open source software has three distinct advantages:
- it can be acquired for a single payment rather than requiring the payment of ongoing license fees;
- it keeps the bureau’s data open so that the data can more easily be moved to a different platform in the future; and
- it allows the bureau to use tools that meet the bureau’s needs without creating those tools from scratch.
The bureau also has committed that as a general rule, when it creates software or hires a third party to create software for it, the code will be made available to the public free of charge. This is intended to allow the public to understand better how the agency works and also to make the software betterby allowing other developers to propose improvements. “[T]he Bureau will use public dollars to create the source code, so the public should have access to that creation,” the CFPB said.