Thursday, July 9, 2009

Veni Vidi Virus

And here's the rest of the world catching up to my thoughts from years ago...    In the dusty archives somewhere, I think I had an article about what will happen to implant wearers once those implants connect part of their real life bodies to the virtual world, to the real life world of script kiddies, sociopathic hackers, and other online entrepreneurs.

Here's one of the things that worried me then, and worries me now:  If I have a prosthetic limb or just an enhancement to existing limbs, and this is controlled via a brain implant, which in turn has wireless connectivity to allow the control and adjustment of the augmentation.  And if some script kiddie finds a way to reverse a few numbers somewhere.  And I happen to be walking along an elevated footpath, I think "move right" and the brain implant issues a "move right" and the augmented limb then moves left.  And happens to knock a fellow pedestrian off the footpath, they crack their head, and subsequently die.

Who's guilty now?  Me for being the one who physically carried out the action leading to the death?  The manufacturer of the system for not building in safeguards and intrusion protection?  The hacker, wherever and whoever they may be, and who may have carried out the hack without any knowledge of where i was and what I was doing at the time?

This situation isn't just going to apply to body-worn augments, of course.  Assume I'm and early adopter and have a personal robot assistant.  Or (and this would be one reason car manufacturers might be a tad shy to put automatic drive controls in their cars) I have a personal transporter that pretty much runs on autopilot and connects via mobile broadband to download routes from Google Maps.  Only Google Maps has been hacked and along with the map it downloads a zero-day payload...

You can see that where the Law has been slow to catch up with current cyber wrongdoing, the rate of change is about to ratchet up by another whole order of moral and legal decisions needing to be made.

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