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Re: Sun speaks out - but not to the cypherpunks
- To: [email protected]
- Subject: Re: Sun speaks out - but not to the cypherpunks
- From: [email protected]
- Date: Sat, 4 Nov 1995 23:21:43 -0800
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I know that it is rude to follow up one of your own posts, and I apologize
in advance for this horrible faux-pas, but hopefully, it's excused this
one time. I wrote:
>One example of this that should serve as a useful case study is a recent
>problem which was brought to the Canadian public's attention just this
>week, on a program called the Fifth Estate. The CBC (Canadian
>Broadcasting Corporation) detailed a software code problem in one of
>AECL's (Atomic Energy of Canada Limited's) instruments which deliver
>The software which controlled the radiation dose, would periodically
>override the oncologist's calibration and deliver a radiation dose 100
>times what was prescribed. This software "bug" literally killed wherever
>the machine was in use.
Does anyone on this list know if the CBC has a web site on the Net?
I'm hoping that someone (hint, hint) who has a convenient website, one
with lots of spare bandwidth could volunteer to contact the CBC and
persuade them to copyright clear the Fifth Estate program clip which
documented some of the risks of software bugs in mission critical
applications, and allow it to be placed on the Net. I'm hoping that this
English language piece reaches a wide international audience.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is a Crown Corporation which has
historically received its primary funding from the Government of Canada.
Recently, it has suffered under the budgetary ax, and the push for
privatization. I'm pretty confident that the Corporation would copyright
clear the clip for MPEG distribution across the Net, if they were
approached with the concept that the clip was a demonstration of the CBC's
journalistic excellence and integrity, a piece which is demonstrative of
the critical need to continue their funding. A concrete demonstration of
the need for the CBC. And a piece which could well receive deserved
The site would help them, and would simultaneously be a site of
international public service.
Nothing will drive home the need for quality software, quality code, and
quality security more than the vivid graphic pictures of the consequences
of sloppy code, or of the risks if certain critical systems, LANs, or
private networks are compromised, or if security and privacy (which are
flip sides of the same coin) are ignored.
The sight of a body, that has had a hole burned straight through it from
the front through to the spine is truly chilling and drives the message
home. Nothing seems to speak as clearly as a picture ... as to what the
stakes are ... of what "bugs" in code do ... and of what a network
compromise can leave in its wake.
A picture of consequences.
Six people died in Canada and the United States due to the software flaw.
Even after numerous reports of the flaws, the company refused to even
acknowledge the existence of a problem, and in fact did everything within
its power to make sure doctors, radiologists and physicists were unaware.
The attitude of trivialization can only be characterized as fantastic, and
would be unbelievable to anyone who has not viewed the piece.
It's one hell of a backgrounder which not only details problems, but looks
at solutions -- it examines attitudes, especially management attitudes. It
truly deserves an expanded audience. From teachers, to students, to the
international media, to the concerned private individual, all will be
served well if this piece gets wide attention.
Alice de 'nonymous ...
...just another one of those...
P.S. This post is in the public domain.
C. S. U. M. O. C. L. U. N. E.