Google recently published a development kit for Android, the open source mobile platform they created. Google is hoping third parties will use the kit to develop exciting new applications and is offering $10 million in total awards for the “best mobile apps” built on the platform.

It’s a great idea which will probably make hundreds of compatible applications available when the first Android mobile devices will start shipping. It’s also good news for open source developers, but unfortunately not all of them! The Android Developer Challenge is not open to residents of Italy because of “local restrictions”.

Fabrizio Giudici, an Italian experienced Java developer writes on his blog about the restrictions which prevent Google from including Italy in the Challenge:

– the entity which is organizing the contest must guarantee in advance a security deposit covering the whole value of prizes.
– prizes must be assigned in presence of a notary public and a representative from an acknowledged consumer association;
– prizes that are not delivered (for any reason, including recipient not picking them) must be donated to some non-profit organizations, explicitly listed in the contest rules;
– there are some papers to fill in and the contest must be registered to two different Ministries and to the State Monopoly Administration.

Although most of these restrictions are in place to protect consumers, its actual effect is preventing Italian open source developers to seize such a great opportunity as Google’s contest. I think Italian politicians should get rid of these self-imposed obstacles if they want to encourage innovation in their country.  In general Italy continues to be the European country with the weird, out of date laws, the other one that is absurd is the one that anyone who uses WiFi must certify his identity.  ¿What happened to la libertá?

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

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