A strange conclusion to Steve Lohr’s NY Times article yesterday “Companies Fight Endless War Against Computer Attacks“, reporting that federal mandates may be considered for software at some point because of market failures.
“Just as the government eventually stepped in to mandate seat belts in cars and safety standards for aircraft, says James A. Lewis, a computer security expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the time has come for software.
Mr. Lewis, who advised the Obama administration about online security last spring, recalled that he served on a White House advisory group on secure public networks in 1996. At the time, he recommended a hands-off approach, assuming that market incentives for the participants would deliver Internet security.
Today, Mr. Lewis says he was mistaken. “It’s a classic market failure — the market hasn’t delivered security,” he said. “Our economy has become so dependent on this fabulous technology — the Internet — but it’s not safe. And that’s an issue we’ll have to wrestle with.”