Open-Source Good, Closed-Source Bad

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Oct 16, 2005.

  1. Found this article <>
    (following a link from Bruce Schneier's Crypto-Gram newsletter) about
    hundreds of people charged with drink-driving having their cases thrown out
    of court because the manufacturer of the breathalyzer machines used will
    not disclose their source code or any other details about how the machines

    As Schneier says <>:

    This is the right decision. Throughout history, the government has had
    to make the choice: prosecute, or keep your investigative methods
    secret. They couldn't have both. If they wanted to keep their methods
    secret, they had to give up on prosecution.

    People have the right to confront their accuser. People have a right to
    examine the evidence against them, and to contet the validity of that
    evidence. As more and more evidence is collected by software, this means
    open-source equipment.

    We are all safer because of this decision. (And its implications are
    huge. Think of voting systems, for one.)
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Oct 16, 2005
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  2. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    Gordon Guest

    This is fundemental to the working of democracy. The accused must have the
    evidence present against her in away that the public at large can

    This is yet another front whose fire power has opened up against closed
    source programmes.

    How society chooses to use technology is really the important question.
    For technology is neutral.
    Gordon, Oct 16, 2005
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