Re: NANO: Hacking assembler security

Date: Mon Feb 14 2000 - 06:47:42 MST

In a message dated 2/14/2000 6:25:22 AM EST, writes:

<< I like it but I don't think it'll work.
 Points in favour: Torvald's law applies ("given an infinite number of
 eyeballs, all bugs are shallow") to spotting hazards.
 Points against:
 * It's vulnerable to special interest groups trashing someone's project
   for irrational reasons. (Consider the current mess over GM crops in the
   EU for an instance of this sort of thing.)>>

This problem could be addressed in part by increasing the percentage
necessary to veto a project. If 51% or more of the population veto a
project, then it is no longer a special interest group. Note, however, that
this does nothing to stop irrational decisions from being made. To do that,
you must make changes in the way people think and feel about issues, not in
the way the voting system is structured. However, I do believe by having it
be a veto system instead of a positive vote, small projects will have a
better chance of going forward, since the burden to act is now on those who
would oppose the design. This will likely allow people to follow their own
personal projects as long as they do not adversely effect others. On the
other hand, with a positive vote of approval being necessary to go forward,
anyone who wishes to go forward with a design will have to give people a
compelling reason why they should bother to vote for their project.
 <<* It's vulnerable to an effective denial of service attack. If you want
   to smuggle a bad design through, simply hit the approvals mechanism with
   about ten million spurious design requests, all generated by making
   variations off some core structure. This will overload the people
   monitoring the designs, leading to designs being passed by default without
   enough people checking them. (You could work around this by making
   submitting a design a chargable expense, like filing for a patent, but
   then you end up saddling the nascent nanotech design industry with
   a very artificial cost structure and force legitimate inventors to
   subsidize bull-goose loonies.)>>

Or you could try to come up with a reasonable limit to how many designs one
person can submit in a period of time and/or a limit to how many total
designs may be submitted to the public for approval at any one time. This
second strategy could be combined with having monitors go through the list of
designs waiting for approval and flag any irregularities in patterns of
people sending them (overloading the system) or throw out clearly fraudulent
designs (these would remain in a public domain file for oversight by the
general population). These approaches would slow the rate of design
implementation, but this might be offset in part by decentralizing the
process and having local populations deal with local designs. You might then
also incorporate some appeals process where if someone (or a sizable
minority?) is concerned about a decision it could be sent out to the entire
population for review.
 <<* It's inimical to the currently understood concept of a patent -- in
   effect, it gives your business competitors an opportunity to veto your
   best inventions, rather than protecting them. I'm no fan of the current
   patent system, but I think this is going rather too far in the opposite

Again, if we keep the percent necessary for a veto above the majority level,
this will be somewhat offset as most business competitors will not likely be
a majority of your population. This becomes more of a problem with a
decentralized voting system since I can see some "company towns", but again,
an appeals process could be in place to offset that by kicking it up to the
general population. Or you could simply move to a more friendly community
that wouldn't mind having a business in their area competing with that other
area's business<g>.

Are they ever easy<fg>? Thanks for your critiques, they were good points.

Glen Finney

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