Society for Ethical Software Development



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Welcome to the Society for Ethical Software Development (SESD). We are a group of both software developers, and concerned citizens, who feel a common need for a more well planned, well regulated, and coordinated environment in the rapidly expanding field of software development. Our concerns regarding this need arise from the many recent seeming “collisions” between admittedly out-of-control software programs, and human beings that have seemed to be occurring in ever greater frequency, as software capabilities increasingly expand. We are concerned that such incidents have recently escalated to the level of destabilizing entire countries, and accordingly, we posit that now may be the best time to act, before it is too late.

We hold that we live in an age of seemingly ever expanding software and artificial intelligence capabilities, and that as these capabilities might expand, it becomes ever more important that concerns for the safety, health, and well-being of humans, as well as national security concerns, be carefully integrated into each phase of the software related expansion of these capabilities.

We hold that in order to suitably integrate such human-safety-programming into the ongoing expansion of any such software programming, that each and every software program that might in any way impact or affect the safety, health, or well-being of humans, or in any way impact national security, should therefore always be written and should always contain “internal documentation” such that any typical human software developer should always be capable of fully understanding, and thereby be capable of fully customizing, repairing, and/ or rewriting any such software code as needed, to meet whatever related human safety, health, or well-being concern, or national security concern may arise. As such, we would define a “typical human software developer” as a typical graduate of a typical four year college level computer science or computer engineering program.

Henceforth we shall refer to this standard for the ethical development of software as the “Human Ethical Software Safety (HESS) standard for software development.” We hold that any software program which may not be easily understood by a typical human software developer, runs the risk of becoming too highly limited as to who might be able to maintain any such software, and thus becomes prone to misuse and abuse by the limited few who may be able to maintain any such software programs. We hold that a great deal of evidence of exactly that type of abuse has in recent years become abundantly available.

Regarding the current rampant spread on the Internet of malware, software viruses, ransomware, and most recently, wipeware, we hold that these instances are ample proof indeed of the need for the HESS standard for software development. We find the fact that non-HESS-compliant software is now known to routinely threaten and compromise both hospitals, and police departments, both national governments, and nuclear power facilities, to be absolutely and completely unacceptable. We find that the current status of the Internet, where a significant percentage of all Internet traffic is now indecipherable by typical software developers, now poses a grave threat to both human health, safety, and well-being, and to national security.

Accordingly, it is our strong recommendation, that any and all software programs which may not meet the HESS standard for software development, and which have the capability of impacting human health, safety, or well-being, or of impacting national security in any way, ought to be deemed as “unsafe,” and therefore, ought to be either deleted and replaced with software code that meets the HESS standard for software development, or else should be merely deleted and not replaced.

We have recently noted an alarming tendency amongst software developers to have apparently transferred the old dynamics of the former Cold War arms race, over into the realm of software development. With this notable trend, we have seen a constant train of ever more opaque and intentionally guarded software operating systems being created by both commercial ventures and by government agencies, with each subsequent generation of such software operating systems concentrating the power of such systems into the hands of ever fewer and fewer, usually rather anonymous programmers and programming sponsors.

We hold that the general toleration for the creation of such software systems within the software development industry has resulted in the general chaos that now besets the entire software development industry. As such, we hold that a return to the basics, where transparency within software operating systems is considered a bedrock and fundamental requirement, and where software operating systems which have been intentionally (or even unintentionally) created with an aim towards opacity and exclusivity, at first ought to be strongly frowned upon, and we hold that at some point reasonably soon, should probably even be firmly regulated against.

Regarding the possibility of the creation of any artificial intelligence which might in any way rely upon self authoring code, and which might be capable of impacting the health, safety, or well-being of humans, or of impacting national security in any way, we hold that any such attempt at developing any such artificial intelligence poses a grave threat to human safety, health, and well-being, and/ or to national security.

Regarding the current status of the existence of numerous secret “alternate Internets” as well as the existence of numerous secret “alternate banking systems,” we hold that all such systems are non-HESS compliant and therefore pose a grave risk to human health, safety, and well-being, and to national security. Such safety risks have already been amply proven by the many recent criminal Internet attacks on both our governmental and our economic infrastructure.

Regarding the creation and/ or use of any highly encrypted and opaque computer software code (which does not meet the HESS standard for software development), by any government or government agency for the purposes of espionage, counterespionage, surveillance, secret communications, for other various military operations, or for any other purpose, we hold that the development of any such software poses a grave threat to both human health, safety, and well-being, and to national security, and therefore ought to be immediately stopped, declared as illegal, and reversed.

We hold that “sensitive” governmental communications have previously and traditionally been accomplished via hard-copy courier, and as such, a return to similar methods for similar communications is warranted, and should be required.

Further, we hold that the recent intrusion of a foreign government into the American presidential electoral process is additional ample proof of the immediate need for the rapid implementation of the new HESS standard for software development, in order to protect the interests of American national security, and of the American people, as well as the interests of all peoples and all governments everywhere.

 

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