Locus Online Perspectives » Cory Doctorow: Demon-Haunted World

Source: Locus Online Perspectives » Cory Doctorow: Demon-Haunted World

Software – whose basic underlying mechanism is ‘‘If this happens, then do this, otherwise do that’’ – allows cheaters to be a lot more subtle, and thus harder to catch. Software can say, ‘‘If there’s a chance I’m undergoing inspection, then be totally honest – but cheat the rest of the time.’’

what happens when the things you own start to cheat you?

Wannacry was a precursor to a new kind of cheating: cheating the in­dependent investigator, rather than the government. Imagine that the next Dieselgate doesn’t attempt to trick the almighty pollution regulator (who has the power to visit billions in fines upon the cheater): instead, it tries to trick the reviewers

these forms of cheating treat the owner of the device as an enemy of the company that made or sold it, to be thwarted, tricked, or forced into con­ducting their affairs in the best interest of the com­pany’s shareholders. To do this, they run programs and processes that attempt to hide themselves and their nature from their owners, and proxies for their owners (like reviewers and researchers).

The software in gadgets makes it very tempting indeed to fill them with pernicious demons, but [the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (1986) and section 1201 of the Digital Millen­nium Copyright Act (1998)] criminalize trying to exorcise those demons.