09 August 2007

Code is Law is Code

Here's an interesting case:

When Dale Lee Underdahl was arrested on February 18, 2006, on suspicion of drunk driving, he submitted to a breath test that was conducted using a product called the Intoxilyzer 5000EN.

During a subsequent court hearing on charges of third-degree DUI, Underdahl asked for a copy of the "complete computer source code for the (Intoxilyzer) currently in use in the State of Minnesota."

An article in the Pioneer Press quoted his attorney, Jeffrey Sheridan, as saying the source code was necessary because otherwise "for all we know, it's a random number generator."

What's significant is that this shows a growing awareness that if you don't have the source code, you don't really have any idea how something works. And if you don't know that, you can hardly use it to make important decisions - or even unimportant ones, come to that. Obviously, this has clear implications for e-voting, and the need for complete source code transparency.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

it very interesting case!!! As i said, M$ politics one day will die!