The Department of Homeland Security’s CIO said Monday that the department supports federal open source, despite comments made last week to the contrary, according to a report from NextGov.
Last week, DHS employees reportedly protested a White House draft policy that would require federal agencies to publish 20% of their custom-made software code.
The goal of the policy is to encourage agencies to share custom code to facilitate faster IT improvements.
Open source allows users to openly share and collaborate on code and offers advantages in terms of cost, control and innovation. Many big tech companies use open source in one form or another today.
But, the agency was concerned about potentially giving away trade secrets. DHS reportedly compared open source to giving the Mafia a "copy of all FBI system code" last week.
On Monday, DHS’ CIO Luke McCormack said releasing code to the public "can have extensive cybersecurity benefits" and the agency fully supports the proposed White House policy.
DHS spokesman Justin Greenberg said the previous comments criticizing the proposed policy were "incorrectly posted." The agency's primary concern appeared to be that U.S. intellectual property could be stolen by foreign entities.