The Morality of Exposing Security Flaws
Radio Q&A: Sunday, 22 July 2012, Question 2
In the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on 22 July 2012, I answered a question on the morality of exposing security flaws.
Is it moral to post information on security flaws that can help criminals better commit crimes? Some people publish information on how to pick locks or how to bypass computer password protection programs. Yes, sometimes this information might be used by good people to better protect themselves, but it's likely that criminals will use it to commit crimes, perhaps crimes that they'd not have attempted otherwise. Can the person posting the information rightly say, "This information can be used for both good or bad purposes, and I'm not morally responsible for what someone else chooses to do with it"?
My Answer, In Brief: It's perfectly moral to expose security risks and other product failures. In order to protect innocents against evildoers, the delayed process of "responsible disclosure" seems to be the best method.
- Download: MP3 Segment
- Duration: 22:14
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About Philosophy in Action Radio
I'm Dr. Diana Hsieh. I'm a philosopher specializing the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. I received my Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009. My dissertation defended moral responsibility and moral judgment against the doubts raised by Thomas Nagel's "problem of moral luck."
My radio show, Philosophy in Action Radio, broadcasts live over the internet on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. On Sunday mornings, I answer four meaty questions applying rational principles to the challenges of real life in a live hour-long show. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers co-hosts the show. On Wednesday evenings, I interview an expert guest about a topic of practical importance.
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