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Closed source can keep you out of jail
The choice of Closed vs. Open source can keep you out of jail. Florida recently decided that evidence from a Breathalyzer test could not be introduced because the source code was closed. The court found that the lack of source code, denied the accused the right to determine if the machine accurately calculated his Alcohol levels. I found it an extremely interesting issue and I figured others might too.

If you've read my Blog you know I'm a law student and software designer. I'm probably best known for being the co-founder of the Azureus, an open-source bit torrent client. I'd consider myself an open source proponent, but by no means am I an open source zealot, though I think I may be changing. What interested me about this case is the conflict between Open vs. Closed source and it's impact on a humans freedom. No freedom to get a job, freedom to information, but literally the possibility of someone going to jail. This is about a person’s right to confront their accuser. As we've privatized the justice system, we seem to have forgotten that these machines, radar guns, breathalyzers, DNA analysis, etc. are used to convict people of crimes, serious crimes. These people have the right to confront their accusers, but if they're not made of Silicon.


posted by Tyler Pitchford in law on Feb 11, 2006 4:15 AM : 7 comments [permalink]

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