These Parents Build a School App. The City then Called the Police
As the controversy continues, the Öppna Skolplattformen continues to grow in popularity — including an increase in the number of people involved in its development. Cofounders Landgren and Öbrink say up to 40 people are working on developing the app. This group of volunteers found and fixed bugs, created a search feature, and translated the app into various languages. They also raise potential security issues with the official app, even if the town is working against them. The team includes designers, lawyers, and developers. “As private citizens, we’re very digital,” Landgren said.
As the Swedish startup scene progresses — Spotify, Klarna, and King are all built there — public sector technology is struggling to keep up. The latest OECD report into government digitalization, from 2019, ranked Sweden in the bottom 33 countries surveyed. “If we use these official tools, it’s stuck in the’ 90s, ”Landgren said. “To bridge that gap that we, and many other people who have joined us, think that open source is probably the best way for us to start working together.” He argues that citizen development can be more effective than expensive and often failed government IT projects that take years to complete and are out of date by the time they are completed.
“It shows very clearly some of the ways in which digitalization in Sweden has gone wrong,” said Mattias Rubenson, secretary of the Swedish branch of the Pirate Party, noting the problems it has in school platform. “There is, in general, the possibility of a good school platform. But you have to involve students, and especially teachers, in progress from the beginning. There is no such thing in the School Platform. ”
The Öppna Skolplattformen had to wait months to be cleaned. “We don’t believe that any criminal has been committed,” Åsa Sköldberg, the leader of the preliminary police investigation, said. Today’s News on Aug. 16. Data regulator Integritetsskyddsmyndigheten has not opened an investigation into the city’s complaint, a spokesman said.
The police report, shared by Landgren’s WIRED, discusses Certezza’s security review, which was commissioned by the town and completed on Feb. 17, 2021. The review concluded that the open source app did not send any sensitive information to third parties and Not a threat to users. The police report continues to clean up the developers of the Öppna Skolplattformen. “All information used by Öppna Skolplattformen is public information voluntarily distributed by the City of Stockholm,” it said.
Landgren traveled at his brother’s wedding in France in early September when he received a phone call. The city changed its position on Öppna Skolplattformen — and any other apps seeking to do similar things — and decided to allow others to access data within its systems. To do this, the city has negotiated with an external provider who will be able to set up licenses between Öppna Skolplattformen and the city.
“With this solution, the City of Stockholm can guarantee that personal data is managed correctly and securely, while parents can engage the digital tools market in their daily lives,” Isabel Smedberg-Palmqvist, a Stockholm town councilor, said a statement issued on September 9. The step to validation of Öppna Skolplattformen’s efforts — the team estimates that hundreds of hours of work have been put into the app. But the call also came as a shock to Landgren. Just a few days ago, he says, the Öppna Skolplattformen was once again plagued by attempts to block its access to official APIs. After the announcement, the efforts stopped.