Trusting the Digital Arm

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 12:00
Posted in category CS404 Archive

Everyday society becomes more dependent on technology. However, this dependency, and at times blind trust, is society’s greatest liability. When technology fails, it can damage and even destroy the data it is entrusted with. The recent incident with MacAfee highlights a prime example of the just sentinel transformed into the blind executioner. People trust their anti-virus to be the guardian of a valuable data and keep it safe from the tentacles of viruses. However, when a small update was pushed to thousands of computers, the protector began obliterating harmless files and programs. Those most greatly affected populous had not backed up their systems or data. However, even those who had backed up critical data still faced the necessity of reinstalling affected operating systems and programs. Those affected had further entrusted the software to automatically delete any file it deemed a threat to the system, rather than prompt the user for further instructions. As our reliance on technology increases, our methods of probing and certifying software and updates must become increasingly rigorous as well. We view software as something that must function correctly most of the time. If it doesn’t we can rely on backups of the bits and bytes technology touches in order to recover the precious lost data. Technology now touches human lives. Human lives cannot be backed up.

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