Presented by

  • Lana Brindley

    Lana Brindley
    @Loquacities
    http://lanabrindley.com

    Lana Brindley got eaten by a grue in the late 80s, and hasn't been quite the same since. More recently, she's been hanging around in the open source community, and generally making a pest of herself. She lives and breathes technical documentation, information architecture, and agile docs, and is perpetually in pursuit of the perfect piece of content. She hasn't found it yet. In the meantime, she enjoys going to technical conferences to talk about stuff that has been buzzing around in her brain for too long, and also to make sure she leaves the house from time to time. She is currently writing documentation for SUSE, and is hoping to get it finished before the robot overlords take over.

Abstract

Consider these two cases: Volkswagen was caught out having written software code that allowed their cars to cheat emissions tests. Uber also developed software (called 'greyball') which allowed them to cheat law enforcement officials trying to crack down on ride-sharing. The difference between them is that Volkswagen software engineers went to jail, and Uber software engineers didn't. Why? Because one is a car company, and one is a software company. Most industries have had what we might call an "oh no" moment. It's those moments that encourage industries to become better regulated, in order to prevent further disasters. The IT industry has had many moments that could be considered consequential enough to encourage better regulation, but the changes have never been made. Because the industry has avoided effective regulation for so long, it is possible that we are hurtling towards a disaster of epic proportions, one that we haven't even managed to conceive of yet. In this talk, I will go through some historical examples of disasters leading to regulation in other industries, and the measures that were put into place to mitigate the problem. I will also address some of the major moments from the IT industry that should have prompted regulation, and haven't. Finally, I will discuss ways that IT professionals can blow the whistle on potential disasters before they happen ... without losing your job!