After the Hacking Team scandal, everybody and his cousin is calling for a “death sentence” against Adobe Flash, accused of being the “vessel” that allowed Hacking Team’s malware to land on users’ PC and smartphones.
A logical consequence of this vulnerability and its exploiting by several malwares, including those made by Hacking Team, would be a class-action against Adobe that, as a matter of fact, released a “bugged-by-design” application.
But this is not going to happens against Adobe, as against the other (big or small) fishes of the software pond. We are much too “programmed” to accept a software fault as an act of God instead of either a mistake or a deliberate marketing choice.
Will things change after the Hacking Team scandal? I don’t think so, thus get ready for the next viral infection, information theft or denial of service: is just business as usual.
Google just announced its “Android Auto” platform, while Apple already did it with Carplay. Both platforms require an Internet connection and, it is just matter of time, will become more and more deeply interconnected with the car control system.
But software do fail. It fails because there’s no such thing as a bug-free software, it fails because people do mistakes, it fails because the software house’s roadmap not necessarily matches the final users’ safety.
And I don’t care about the usual PR stunts such as “as soon as we discovered the bug we did our best to fix it the fastest way” or “since the xyz library is licensed and proprietary we can’t keep responsibility for the way the software behave” or, finally, “if you just read the EULA you will find that it is clearly stated that we don’t take any responsibility for blah, blah, blah…”
This is a price we cannot afford to pay.
A side-effect generated by the Datagate scandal is the privacy hysteria exploitation to sell encryption-based services. Taking apart some obvious exceptions (business transactions, health information, judiciary data) these services are useless, ineffective and dangerous for the citizen an such and for the society. Continue reading “The Datagate and the Risk of Outlawing Encryption”
Kidding apart, the Snow Leopard oddities (laptop heat issue, printer and application incompatibility and so on) raise a still unanswered question: can a software house – and in particular an operating system manufacturer – be free to sell a not well enough tested and not fully usable application?
This is not the rant of a discontented user but a precise legal question. Is it conceivable to let a producer of critical assets – as software surely is – to deliberately mass market unreliable products? Time has come when software manufacturer can’t be anymore allowed to “go crappy” treating users as a bunch of sheep and just “selling a roadmap”.
I don’t know if somebody ever did an assessment of the additional expenses caused by this marketing strategy (or, at least, I don’t know if this assessment has been made available to the public.) The fact is that software manufacturers should bear the legal consequences of their choice. But as Mark Minasi and Alan Cooper pointed out, software houses succeeded in convincing users that things must go that (wrong) way.