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Legislation chatter

© September 2003 Tony Lawrence

Thu Sep 11 19:53:25 GMT 2003 Legislation chatter

Links: Just Say No to Viruses and Worms

She'll be coming round the mountain when she comes..

Whatever is finally done (and I'm quite sure something will find its way into law), let's hope it's more useful than either of these ideas. I still think it will be licensed or "approved" operating systems. Enforcement would probably be much like seat belt laws: you probably won't get stopped for not wearing one, but your fine goes up if you get stopped for some other reason and don't have it on. The "radar traps" in this case would be evidence of having an infected machine by virtue of you sending out virus email yourself. If your OS is up to date and properly patched, and you are running current virus software and have reasonable firewall protection, no penalty. If you are not, you get fined, or possibly even barred from the Internet if it's repeated offenses(simple injunction to your ISP to kick you off, and your name gets added to a "can't access list"). Maybe your machine gets confiscated if you are really recalcitrant and stubborn about upgrading or patching.

The cops would love it: good source of local revenue issuing tickets. Legislators would take a bow for being proactive. Lawyers would love fighting the tickets in court. Microsoft wouldn't complain about selling all those upgrades.

Enforcement would be spotty, just like it is for seat belt laws. You can't catch everybody not wearing a seat belt or everybody who gets infected with a computer virus. But it could be quite effective just the same, because it's another thing your spouse and kids will nag you about if they don't want to lose access, and the fine will be in the back of your mind every time you ignore an upgrade notice. The few who get tagged as repeat offenders would probably get their name in the papers. Their friends would chide them for being such a jerk and later that night would bring their own software up to date.

Maybe it's not such a bad idea..

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