Copyright reform is one of my favorite subjects, and for a multitude of reasons. Should the prosecution be able to dump a case straight up without recourse because the "Stingray" gathering tool is too lovely to submit to review? Nope. Should breathalyzer code be held from review just because it's a product made by somebody? Nope. Should FOIA be stonewalled or pay-walled and inhibit the Constitutional freedom of the press? Nope!
Innocent until proven guilty is a very, very important premise for the US legal system. It's backed up by both the Fourth and First amendments to the Constitution. Any justification to put them aside for "War on ____" might seem reasonable on the surface, until taking a closer look at multiple murder evidence that comes from within the borders more often than on a laptop of a Citizen who just so happens to be coming back from a foreign country and gets worked for passwords under duress or has to forfeit hardware without recourse.
I dunno, maybe I sound like some kind of off-the-rocker dude by thinking about such things, but I love my country, I'm willing to sit down and think about this kind of stuff. It doesn't have to be extreme. Taking the small steps of talking with one another about what we really value is important in my opinion.
The right to confront your accuser is there for a reason. More and more, software is the accuser. We all, at HN, struggle to make our code correct. Step back, think a second, how do you QA a breathalyzer? How do you deal with variations in sensor packages? Yes, they probably do more good than harm, but are they "accurate"? how do you know that?
> Should breathalyzer code be held from review just because it's a product made by somebody? Nope.
Which is relevant here, of course, because of the demand for access to source code to increase certainty.
But: you'd be right if you assumed the "1st and 4th Amendment" thing was what actually motivated me to comment. I'm a message board nerd too!