Re: Recipe for Destruction - Joy/Kurzweil NYTimes Op-Ed

From: Joel Peter William Pitt (
Date: Mon Oct 17 2005 - 18:40:06 MDT

On 10/18/05, Russell Wallace <> wrote:
> The question is, though, if some bad guys wanted to get access to a
> > "restricted" genome, how hard would it really be for them to do so? Security
> > leaks seem pretty common even regarding nuclear weapons. I'm not sure
> > imposing restrictions would do that much good. But I suspect they would do
> > more good than harm.
> >
> Remember the principle of defense in depth. The more barriers you can put
> in your enemies' way, the safer you are, even if no one barrier is perfect.
> You don't see companies like McAfee casually publishing the code to computer
> viruses on the Internet, and that's for things that are minor nuisances, not
> deadly dangers.

There is also the principle of "know thy enemy".

By making the genome secret you add value to it and the disease it is
responsible for. If it is freely available then understanding of how the
disease kills is available and can lead to better defense, with lots of labs
able to work on it rather than just a couple of Government approved ones.

The understanding of the 1918 suspected avian flu may also lead to insights
about the epidemic scares in Asia - or at least put us in a better position
to fight them.

McAfee might not publish the code to computer viruses but they are freely
available elsewhere. I wouldn't be surprised if McAfee mirrored these virus
code repositories for their own understanding, and to help them make a
better product.

Anyhow, not really SL4 material but I'd be happy to discuss off list.


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