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  • I believe it would fundamentally alter it. Instead of rushing to see how fast we could get our products to market, more time in software testing, penetration testing, fuzz testing, etc.

    Do you have any evidence on which to base this belief? Would the natural response not instead be to divert more money to lawyers and compliance officers?

    Does this mean you would no longer be able to post code to Github, Sourceforge etc. without first performing security audits and CYA?

    -- Ed Avis
    • There is a fundamental issue well-known to economists that when a good has negative externalities [] (e.g., pollution), then the forcing those generating the externalities to internalize those costs is widely considered the fairest way to deal with them. The problem is really trying to assess what those costs actually are and which manufacturers are responsible for which portion of the costs (the devil is always in the details). Since software manufacturers clearly generate a product with negative externalities -- think about the entire ecosystem of credit card thieves and botnets -- just ignoring the problem doesn't seem like a good solution. I don't, however, have evidence that manufacturers will actually produce better quality products instead of hiring more lawyers, so fair point to you.

      As for posting code to Github, Sourceforge, etc., that's merely one of many, many details which would need to be addressed. I'm certainly not pretending to have all of the answers. I'm merely saying that we shouldn't continue to ignore this problem just because we don't yet have the answers. However, I do suspect that many developers will think "how could I post to github?", panic, and then refuse to back the idea because they want to have their fun without any responsibility for it.

      Side note: some will deny the "negative externalities" of many of these software issues because they don't have a reasonable grasp of the economics involved. I would argue that they read up quite a bit more about economics and how our global technology security challenges might impact those who don't even own a computer.

      • A product does not have negative externalities merely because it harms its owner. If you want to pour diesel in your own fish tank, so be it; only pouring it into the local river is an externality. So just saying that software makers have a shoddy product is not enough to put them in the same category as noisy concerts, polluting factories, and view-blocking skyscrapers.

        Of course, there are negative effects to society as a whole from the existence of botnets, but that is true for almost any product: a c

        -- Ed Avis
      • A product does not have negative externalities merely because it harms its owner. You can pour diesel in your own fish tank; only when you pour it in the river does it become an externality.

        Of course there is harm to society as a whole from the existence of botnets. But some negative effect or another exists for any product from cars to telephones to books. There are many positive effects on society from the use of software, but makers don't get a special subsidy because of them. The quality of the pr

        -- Ed Avis