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Re: <nettime> Just as rabid as the Unabomber, but safely on the winning
Morlock Elloi on Thu, 15 Feb 2018 20:15:14 +0100 (CET)


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Re: <nettime> Just as rabid as the Unabomber, but safely on the winning side ...


From the enumerated professions, those who affect society at large on the long time scale - architects and educators - are actually licensed by the state, and subject to license revocation (if, say, architect includes abattoir in the apartment building entrance hall, etc.) Structural engineers, and electrical engineers working on power systems are also licensed by the state and must follow the rules. Note that company employing structural engineer cannot order her to put less rebar in the concrete, than regulations require, according to calculations and safety factors.

The interesting question is why can MAGAf cartel order its engineers to violate existing laws regarding security, privacy, etc. ? Whenever there is a breach or illegal/unethical use, it's the corporation that gets fined, not engineers that designed the offending system. The answer goes back to 1990s, when the industry successfully fought professional licensing for software engineers (lookup JCESEP and SWECC initiatives.)

Going back to the traditional architecture and structural engineering business, there is no way that the building code could be successfully enforced without licensing and prosecuting individual architects/engineers (ie. by prosecuting the construction company only.) This was recognized early on. The reasons are numerous, and include the fact that individual engineers usually do not have as much cash for lawyers as companies do, so they will think twice before violating the code.

The current situation in software engineering is unmanageable - any legal action faces opponent that has more cash than the government.

This can be fixed by a very traditional civil and legal means, introducing individual responsibility to individual actors. Why it is not done - and not even talked about - is the real question. Software is affecting more lives in more significant ways than rebar.


Couldn't you just substitute "Engineers" with designers, educators,
artists, architects, scientists, etc. in the above statement?

Maybe it is the "consequences" part that the author takes issue with,
that the engineers _appear_ to not think about it (as if artists,
academics, and other professions do and come to the right conclusions)
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