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Re: product liability (was: Virus Update)

  • From: William Allen Simpson
  • Date: Tue May 09 12:27:32 2000

Jim Mercer wrote:
> actually, i don't think this is strictly microsoft's fault.
> 
> the companies that "lost" that $8,000,000,000 are responsible for their own
> actions.  they ignored the vulnerability reports as well.
> 
I don't accept this argument.  You are saying that we need to sue our 
customers for using a faulty product, rather than the vendor of the 
faulty product.  My understanding of product liability doesn't jibe 
with that illogic.

Very few customers follow security digests, and fewer have the resources 
to enforce installation of patches and non-default setup.  The product 
is functioning as delivered.

The only recourse for our customers would have been to use a non-M$ 
product.  M$ has been using a monopoly position to leverage Internet 
services.  

While we encourage our customers to use better products, time and time 
again, we find that they install M$ anyway.  Their accounting runs 
on 98+NT, their patient record system run on 98+NT, heck, their 
constituent mail tracking package runs on 98+NT....  They use NT for 
"firewall", NAT, etc. 


> how long would they keep a voice mail system that automatically dialed the
> return number, regardless of local or long distance charges?
> 
Speaking from past experience, they would keep a Rolm PBX that fails 
to record such things -- because it's too expensive to replace the system 
in lost time and business -- then sue Rolm for the consequential damages 
(resulting in near bankruptcy for Rolm, which was bailed out by IBM).

But, this case is even worse, the equivalent of incurring a long-distance 
conference call to every previous caller, upon picking up the phone 
without dialing anything!


> one would hope that incidents like this would help educate the decision
> makers, but, alas, they are just sheep being gobbled up by the microsoft wolf.
> 
Your BSD signature reveals your bias.

While I may agree with the sentiment, suing our customers for ignorance 
would likely be counter-productive for regaining lost revenues....

WSimpson@UMich.edu
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