Sunday, April 3, 2016

Absolution for Dereliction

Y2K was a classic example of a broken window. Recall from Chapter 3, "The Power of Weaknesses," that a broken window is an element of disorder. Inattention and sloppiness invites disorder. And disorder invites greater disorder, even crime. In the case of software, our systems are broken even before we purchase them. Y2K seems to prove this point in spades. The fact that nothing obvious happened on January 1, 2000, is irrelevant. In fact, plenty happened. As a broken window, Y2K sent a message to everyone in the global networked neighborhood that no one was in control of software. Y2K was a message sent around the world heard by everyone: citizen, officials, and organized crime. Only now are we seeing the results.

In their panic, Congress, instead of grabbing the software industry by its ear lobe and saying, "You are arrogant, sloppy little men, what you wrought," passed the Year 2000 Computer Date Change Act limiting the liability of the software industry. In essence, the Act was absolution for dereliction. It just goes to show that it is rather difficult to grab someone by ear when they have you by the balls.

David Rice (2008). Geekonomics: The Real Cost of Insecure Software (pp. 189). Pearson Education, Inc. Boston MA

No comments: