Jane Chong

The below is the final installment in a five-part series. Part 1 explored the problems stemming from our collective unwillingness to hold software providers accountable for vulnerability-ridden code. Part 2 argued that the technical challenges associated with minimizing software vulnerabilities weigh in favor of, not against, imposing liability on software makers. 

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This is the fourth installment in a series on whether and how to hold software makers financially liable for the insecurity of their products. Part I offered an overview of the problem of insecure code. Part II countered the notion that the technical challenges associated with minimizing software vulnerabilities weigh against the creation of any kind of maker-liability regime. 

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This is the third installment in a series on whether and how to hold software makers financially liable for the insecurity of their products. Part I offered an overview of the problem of insecure code; Part II countered the notion that the technical challenges associated with minimizing software vulnerabilities weigh against the creation of any kin

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Ladar Levison, owner of the now-defunct encrypted email site Lavabit, made headlines back in August when he shut the service down to avoid “becom[ing] complicit in crimes against the American people.” But the Lavabit saga is far from over. Levison is currently appealing a July 16 court order commanding him to turn over the site’s private SSL (Secure Socket Layer) keys.

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It’s true: perfectly secure software is a pipedream. Experts agree that we cannot make software of “nontrivial size and complexity” free of vulnerabilities. Moreover, consumers want feature-rich, powerful software and they want it quickly; and this tends to produce huge, bulky, poorly-written software, released early and without adequate care for security.

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The joke goes that only two industries refer to their customers as “users.” But here's the real punch line: Drug users and software users are about equally likely to recover damages for whatever harms those wares cause them.

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