Only a tool
Posted Jan 26, 2012 17:33 UTC (Thu) by corbet
In reply to: Only a tool
Parent article: LCA: Jacob Appelbaum on surveillance and censorship
Is the example contrived? Is it really more black-and-white than "if it's a tool, it's OK to make regardless of its intent"? If you say "tools are tools, no exceptions" you have to accept examples like that. Either the pipe bomb stand is OK, or there are some "tools" whose existence you are unwilling to tolerate.
Assuming the latter, doesn't it make sense to ask which side of the line a device like FinFly stands on?
Again, I am aware of the dangers of this discussion. To have some government decree that free software and general-purpose computers are tools for hacking and infringement that should be banned is not even remotely unimaginable. I hope I don't have to say that I would be opposed to anything along those lines. But we'll not head off that prospect by refusing to discuss the culpability of those who make tools that are explicitly designed and marketed for illegal and immoral purposes. Indeed, I fear that there is a good chance that we could make it more likely.
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