Should Software Providers Be Responsible For Viruses Or Security Breaks?

from the two-sides... dept

I’ve been hearing more and more people say that companies like Microsoft should be held liable for their crappy software. The fact that their security sucks and it’s easy to create crippling viruses for Microsoft should make Microsoft responsible for providing a fix. David Coursey tries to argue the other side of this coin in his latest column. He makes the analogy that this is the equivalent of blaming the people who built your house if someone breaks in and shoots you. You can only make a system so secure – and the real blame lies on the people who broke in, wrote the virus, etc. There are some good points in there, and I might agree a bit more if most people were forced to live in insecure houses built by a single company who did as much as possible to make sure you had no choice in who built your house. Yes, ultimately, the hackers or virus writers or whoever who did bad things to your system deserve the ultimate blame. But, Microsoft still has a responsibility to build software that is as secure as they imply it is to their customers.

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Comments on “Should Software Providers Be Responsible For Viruses Or Security Breaks?”

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Lee says:

defective locks

Suppose the person who built your home installed door locks that were defective across the model line. The builder knew about the bad locks and in fact installed the same model of locks on every structure they built.

Of course home owners could always choose a different builder, or install reliable locks, but they paid for good locks in the first place.

Perpetual Newbie says:


The warranty of merchantability shouldn’t be disclaimable. This warranty is the common law belief that if someone is selling you a product for commercial gain, the product had better work as advertised. If a product has fundamental design errors that could lead to disaster, it should be recalled and fixed by the vendor. Liability should only come into play when the vendor is malicious in ignoring or trying to hide the issue.

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