How to break the internet: Put judges in charge of the technology

imageSoftware can’t be programmed by committee and technology doesn’t work when law makers and judges make programming decisions that they’re utterly under qualified to make.



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Program logic works as a package deal.  It’s part of a larger picture… a larger plan.  You can’t have people that don’t understand the technology making technological and micro decisions, like judges dictating that some software must do X or must do X in a specific way, or that search engines must “know” not the serve results that might offend.

Take this latest example of a judge in Germany ruling that YouTube is responsible for everything its users upload and is dictating to YouTube that they must apply a certain type of filter that the judge came up with.  Here’s the ZDNet story about it:


You (judges) can’t make these dictates because you don’t understand:

  1. The feasibility.
  2. The development cost.
  3. The performance cost.
  4. The effectiveness of it.
  5. Whether it’s even possible.

Non technological people tend to understand technology through the eyes of fictional Hollywood productions.  They tend to think that computers and software are decades or even centuries more advanced than they really are.  imageFrom CSI’s fictional holodeck like morgue to Criminal Minds’ Garcia performing cross join queries across disconnected datasets from different sources as fast as her boss asks for it, while he’s still asking (sometimes before he asks), which, in reality, would take days or weeks to research if the database exists, where it’s housed, who owns it, gaining permission to access it, learning their technology to get a feed of it, writing code to import it into your local database so that you can then write a query against it, which might take minutes to execute (after your weeks of research and development to get to that point), depending on how complex it is.

imageIt’s not just judges, but lawmakers too.  You can’t just insert any gear you want into the middle of a complex machine and expect it to just work.  These technologies are very carefully thought out an rigorously tested by very experienced and knowledgeable people who’ve been doing it every day of their lives for years or decades.

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