We need to be the masters of our computers

The most important paragraph in Corey Doctorow’s essay:

No, the worst part is that, like the lady who had to swallow the bird to catch the spider that she’d swallowed to catch the fly, any technical system that stops you from being the master of your computer must be accompanied by laws that criminalize information about its weaknesses. In the age of Google, it simply won’t do to have “uninstall HAL9000.exe” return a list of videos explaining how to jailbreak your gadgets, just as videos that explain how to jailbreak your iPhone today could technically be illegal; making and posting them could potentially put their producers (and the sites that host them) at risk of prosecution.

This amounts to a criminal sanction for telling people about vulnerabilities in their own computers. And because today your computer lives in your pocket and has a camera and a microphone and knows all the places you go; and because tomorrow that speeding car/computer probably won’t even sport a handbrake, let alone a steering wheel—the need to know about any mode that could be exploited by malicious hackers will only get more urgent. There can be no “lawful interception” capacity for a self-driving car, allowing police to order it to pull over, that wouldn’t also let a carjacker compromise your car and drive it to a convenient place to rob, rape, and/or kill you.

(emphasis mine)

Author: Eric Mesa

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