Virology is not computer science. A biological virus is not the same as a
computer virus. A vulnerability that affects every individual copy of
Windows is not as bad as a vulnerability that affects every individual
person. Still, the lessons from computer security are valuable to anyone
considering policies intended to encourage life-saving research in virology
while at the same time prevent that research from being used to cause
harm. This debate will not go away; it will only get more urgent.
Considering that the members of the security disclosure list are public
considering that some of them are service providers, if I am a [customer],
why would I ever choose a provider that is not in that list?
Having that list on the website is like writing: "please choose one of
the providers in the list below as they have a better security
(Thanks to George Dunlap.)
To defend against hackers, filtered computers are standard in the
government, but they are problematic for officials who are trying to
discover dishonest activity on the Web; it's a bit like telling a cop he
can't patrol in high-crime neighborhoods. A handful of unfiltered computers
are available in restricted labs at the FTC's [US Federal Trade Commission] headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue and its satellite offices on New Jersey Avenue and M Street, but this is an ungainly setup. Rather than leaving their office, waiting for an elevator, swiping their ID badges across a sensor at the lab's locked door and logging into a computer soaked with malware (because the lab computers are used to test suspicious applications and websites), the technologists have instead stayed in their office and tethered their personal laptops to their personal cellphones. The office does not have a window, and the cell signals are not strong; even by phone standards, their Web connection is slow.
The [UK] Government has been forced to suspend an online consultation into pornography controls after a security breach exposed respondents’ confidential answers and contact details.
in The Independent
to post comments)