midrange-nontech-request@xxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:

>   1. Programmer Liability (David Gibbs)
>
>>From http://news.zdnet.co.uk/software/developer/0,39020387,39228663,00.htm
>
>> Software developers should be held personally accountable for the
>> security of the code they write, said Howard Schmidt, former White
>> House cybersecurity advisor,
>
>Uh huh ... right.  Blame the programmer.  Not the vendor that failed to
>perform adequate QA on the software.
>
>Program bugs are inevitable ... that's the nature of things.  Those
>bugs, however, should be caught before the code is released.  That's
>what QA is all about.
>
>JMHO, of course.

"JMHO", yes. It seems related to what I recently went through with jury service 
(which hit right as projects were also reaching critical points and helped get 
me far behind in less critical areas such as these lists.)

I was interviewed as a potential juror for a property-line/property-damage 
dispute. The plaintiff was an older woman -- maybe 65 -- who'd lived on a 
20-acre parcel for decades. A development company (defendant) began working on 
a neighboring parcel, clearing it off for development. At some point, a 
bulldozer driver strayed as much as 40 feet onto the woman's parcel damaging 
trees and other items.

Defendant was not disputing the basic facts, admitting the damage, accepting 
general liability for reimbursement. What was in dispute was "intent". In 
particular, it came down to whether or not it was all an 'accident'.

I got excused from that jury, probably because of my strong opinions voiced 
during the interview. Defendant did not want me on the jury.

Defendant's lawyer asks the jury panel something like "If it was an 'accident', 
if a hypothetical bulldozer driver didn't know he was crossing the property 
line, should the driver (and of course employer) be considered to have intent 
to damage?"

My spoken thoughts were something like: "It depends on a number of things. 
Maybe employer regularly chooses not to mark survey lines ahead of time and 
assumes they can simply pay off damages later. Maybe they save money in the 
long run that way, figuring no one would take it as far as court. Or maybe 
employer chooses to hire incompetent drivers and saves money that way. Maybe a 
number of things. If such things are a regular part of that business, then I'd 
say 'Yes, there was indeed intent.'"

Similarly in the developer/employer case. If employer doesn't use forms of 
quality assurance, particularly because it saves money in the short run, then 
it is a conscious decision and part of the assumed risk. Investors should know 
about that decision and liability should go along as far as the decision-making 
goes.

JMHO, of course.

Tom Liotta



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