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MononcQc
May 29, 2007

"I believe I did, Bob."



Hot off the presses is icebreaker.dev, a website that finds the current ICE practices in the US to be troubling cases of human rights abuses (rightfully so), and tries to call out all code authors and maintainers in the open-source world to participate in protests and donating to orgs fighting concentration camps on US soil, but also encourages tech people to adopt a new license which forces ethical behaviour (listed below), or to just flat out pull your code from public repositories:

quote:

Copyright 2019 Coraline Ada Ehmke

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:
  • The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

  • The software may not be used by individuals, corporations, governments, or other groups for systems or activities that actively and knowingly endanger, harm, or otherwise threaten the physical, mental, economic, or general well-being of other individuals or groups in violation of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.

This license is derived from the MIT License, as amended to limit the impact of the unethical use of open source software.

This amazingly effective means of ensuring proper ethical treatment of human well-being was announced over twitter:

https://twitter.com/coralineada/status/1222203448369827845

Which quickly prompted more fun responses:

https://twitter.com/soniagupta504/status/1222374341041586176

Of particular interest, the poster got a very expected twitter dogpile from the public which I will neither encourage nor mention further.

What I instead want is the educated hottakes of my fellow yosposters on this issue. Where do you position yourself on the line between "all technology can be used for good or bad, and I can't know what will come out of it", and Tom Lehrer's famous "Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down? That's not my department," about Wernher von Braun?

We know all code is a threat for existing and by extension of running on computers (which are pieces of poo poo; YOSPOS' first axiom), but just how much responsibility are you willing to take for the inhuman horrors unethical actors can unleash with the help of your code, which was mainly expected to be terrible and nothing more?

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Shaggar
Apr 26, 2006


Nap Ghost

this is good and will save people from the harm of using open sores software

MononcQc
May 29, 2007

"I believe I did, Bob."



microsoft is the largest open source company in the world shaggar

prisoner of waffles
May 8, 2007

Ah! well a-day! what evil looks
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the fishmech
About my neck was hung.


i think it's interesting considering the dynamics in the middle because people who really do buy into either end of the relevant ideological spectrum (one side labelled "social darwinism", one side labelled "human rights, actually") are pretty much spoken for.

Ciaphas
Nov 20, 2005

> BEWARE, COWARD :ovr:




i guess my feelings depend on if this is a legal culpability thing, or just moral obligation

my gut says i agree with the latter - if only because guilt would destroy me if i ever found out my code was used for abuses - but the former seems fraught at best, i can't even begin to analyze that

prisoner of waffles
May 8, 2007

Ah! well a-day! what evil looks
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the fishmech
About my neck was hung.


I don't work on open source stuff directly or indirectly.

I support anyone who wants to put such terms in their OSS license because duh.

It's cool that lawyers and corps are concerned about OSS authors asserting their rights specified in license terms and it's amazing that that very very narrow bit of power can have literally any effect on a process where other lawyers have already decided "yeah gently caress the substantive and very important rights of these other people." I guess OSS authors are generally not dehumanized and have a place and value even in the social darwinist / fascist system of values and power.

rotor
Jun 11, 2001

Official Carrier
of the Neil Bush Torch

 
 
 
 
teh butts


You are responsible for the things you create, the fact that you give it away for free doesn't absolve you of that.

If you don't think your work should be used for evil, then you need to exert control over it's use. Any of the standard licenses are woefully inadequate, although GPL3 is at least frightening enough to most companies that they'll look elsewhere first.

This of course assumes that people will follow the law. I don't think I need to detail the reasons that this is a bad assumption.

My solution is this: retain control of your work. Sell it or give it away to whomever you like, but retain control of who uses it. At least make some sort of vague effort to prevent your work from being used in a machine of oppression or murder.

MononcQc
May 29, 2007

"I believe I did, Bob."



I'm personally torn on this because I maintain build tools for a programming language. The concern of the build tool is "make writing software easier and less risky in a given stack."
It is ultimately pretty neutral, but if it allowed a company like Palantir to help a government be more effective at stepping on necks with jackboots, what could I do?

You can extend that argument further: what about language designers or kernel developers for Linux? Like is it really fair to go and compare "works on linux" or "works on a js linter" with "writes real-time facial recognition software", and if not, where do we feel the gradient becomes too much?

I'm kind of personally tending towards how easy it is to imagine a dystopian scenario facilitated by the software being produced, compared to how much it helps prevent this scenario from materializing. The easier it is to imagine it used for abusive cases more powerfully than positive cases, the worst I'd feel about it. But that's very ad-hoc and separated of any actual ethical analysis, and in no way prevents abusive usage.

rotor
Jun 11, 2001

Official Carrier
of the Neil Bush Torch

 
 
 
 
teh butts


"I made this high powered space laser and I'll just leave it here on this streetcorner, charged up and ready to go."


"look, it's not my fault some jackass used my high powered space laser to murder a busload of tourists, I put a warning label on it."


this is anyone trying to claim they're not responsible for palantir - or worse - using their code.

MononcQc
May 29, 2007

"I believe I did, Bob."



more hot takes:

licenses are not the right tool for that job; they're copyright assignment.

what people have in mind there are EULAs, and we should stop rolling EULA-like terms into copyright things like licenses.

rotor
Jun 11, 2001

Official Carrier
of the Neil Bush Torch

 
 
 
 
teh butts


MononcQc posted:

I'm personally torn on this

i don't understand this. How is "retain control of who uses your work" a difficult concept? If someone you like comes to you and says "hey man can i get those build tools?" you say yes. If someone you hate says the same thing, you say no.

MononcQc
May 29, 2007

"I believe I did, Bob."



rotor posted:

"I made this high powered space laser and I'll just leave it here on this streetcorner, charged up and ready to go."


"look, it's not my fault some jackass used my high powered space laser to murder a busload of tourists, I put a warning label on it."


this is anyone trying to claim they're not responsible for palantir - or worse - using their code.

This argument however does not distance you from the work you do for pay in your day job, if the company that owns it sells it to a bad actor that runs with it to do unethical things. In fact you could argue that as someone paid for that work, you benefit from the suffering it causes to a greater extent than OSS developers.

rotor
Jun 11, 2001

Official Carrier
of the Neil Bush Torch

 
 
 
 
teh butts


MononcQc posted:

This argument however does not distance you from the work you do for pay in your day job

No, it sure doesn't. Don't work for monsters.

Schadenboner
Aug 15, 2011

by Shine


I'd like to make an Open Sores license that prohibits use in war-fighting activities on the basis that such actions are illegal under the Kellogg–Briand Pact of 1928.

MononcQc
May 29, 2007

"I believe I did, Bob."



rotor posted:

i don't understand this. How is "retain control of who uses your work" a difficult concept? If someone you like comes to you and says "hey man can i get those build tools?" you say yes. If someone you hate says the same thing, you say no.

It's tied to the overall idea of "no ethical consumption under capitalism". Essentially, if a commodity can be used for evil, it's an argument against producing commodities. If you write a more effective data structure that lets you sort things faster, how are you to know or expect that technical improvements will be used to facilitate genocide, as opposed to just sorting songs in a playlist faster? should you abstain from publishing potential improvements because of the potential for ill use altogether?

I'm feeling that no, this isn't good enough to just abstain from writing poo poo or teaching stuff (what if you teach things to someone and they end up doing evil with it?). There's some abstract point after which my distance from the risky issue is high enough I no longer feel bad about it, and it's definitely not constant across various pieces of tech.

rotor
Jun 11, 2001

Official Carrier
of the Neil Bush Torch

 
 
 
 
teh butts


I really don't get this cultural insistence on producing open source software.

At one point, maybe it was a good idea, I don't really know.

But I do know that what it's turned into is volunteer work for startups and free work for exposure.

Stop writing open source software. Maintain control of your work on your own.

lord fifth
Dec 26, 2019

LUCK ???

the code hurt me so it darn well better hurt someone else

rotor
Jun 11, 2001

Official Carrier
of the Neil Bush Torch

 
 
 
 
teh butts


MononcQc posted:

It's tied to the overall idea of "no ethical consumption under capitalism". Essentially, if a commodity can be used for evil, it's an argument against producing commodities. If you write a more effective data structure that lets you sort things faster, how are you to know or expect that technical improvements will be used to facilitate genocide, as opposed to just sorting songs in a playlist faster? should you abstain from publishing potential improvements because of the potential for ill use altogether?

You should use your capacity as a human to make these decisions on a case-by-case basis instead of trying to find a single solution for every possible eventuality.

MononcQc
May 29, 2007

"I believe I did, Bob."



rotor posted:

No, it sure doesn't. Don't work for monsters.

You don't need to work for monsters for the people at your org owning the results of your work to turn around and sell the solution to monsters.

Say you work on e-mail software.
The e-mail software is used by a neutral company to organize internal communications
That internal company uses the more effective communications to sell b2b solutions at a faster pace than ever before
the faster pace of communications is used by eugenicists to better coordinate work that eliminates minorities.

What is your responsibility as someone who produced e-mail software but indirectly participated in improving eugenics?
It is unrelated to OSS, although OSS makes it easier to skip middlemen.

Moo Cowabunga
Jun 15, 2009

[Office Worker.






oh no

MononcQc
May 29, 2007

"I believe I did, Bob."



rotor posted:

You should use your capacity as a human to make these decisions on a case-by-case basis instead of trying to find a single solution for every possible eventuality.

agreed. Which is why seeing "coffeescript" called out for facilitating concentration camps is kind of loving weird.

rotor
Jun 11, 2001

Official Carrier
of the Neil Bush Torch

 
 
 
 
teh butts


MononcQc posted:

What is your responsibility as someone who produced e-mail software but indirectly participated in improving eugenics?


again, this is a question that no one will be able to produce a global answer for and you need to ask yourself these questions and come up with your own answers for any given situation.

MononcQc
May 29, 2007

"I believe I did, Bob."



rotor posted:

again, this is a question that no one will be able to produce a global answer for and you need to ask yourself these questions and come up with your own answers for any given situation.

but twitter is implying I'm to blame here and I can't sit idly without external validation

rotor
Jun 11, 2001

Official Carrier
of the Neil Bush Torch

 
 
 
 
teh butts


MononcQc posted:

agreed. Which is why seeing "coffeescript" called out for facilitating concentration camps is kind of loving weird.

i think the issue here is that most of the people on that list are not even making an attempt to control their own work. Whoever controls coffeescript, for instance, has abrogated their responsibility and is incapable of preventing people from using it, even if they wanted to.

rotor
Jun 11, 2001

Official Carrier
of the Neil Bush Torch

 
 
 
 
teh butts


rotor posted:

i think the issue here is that most of the people on that list are not even making an attempt to control their own work. Whoever controls coffeescript, for instance, has abrogated their responsibility and is incapable of preventing people from using it, even if they wanted to.

whether they want to or not is a moral choice they can make.

But they have deliberately put themselves in a position where they are incapable of acting on that choice, and that's the choice I'm objecting to. It's abrogating your moral responsibility to a software license and it's despicable imo.

prisoner of waffles
May 8, 2007

Ah! well a-day! what evil looks
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the fishmech
About my neck was hung.


re: control and whether the relevant license terms have any effect, I think the effect is at least confronting whoever does license review with a question that, properly handled, requires getting a lawyer to internally pooh-pooh away the concerns

rotor
Jun 11, 2001

Official Carrier
of the Neil Bush Torch

 
 
 
 
teh butts


MononcQc posted:

more hot takes:

licenses are not the right tool for that job; they're copyright assignment.

i didn't explicitly agree with this and i feel like i should so:

I agree with this 100%.

Ciaphas
Nov 20, 2005

> BEWARE, COWARD :ovr:




idk how to measure my own culpability at current job, but i don't think it's as distant as in Mononcqc's case

we make tape storage libraries; basically mainframes with lots of tape drives and tape storage. something like 8gb per tape and as little as 550 tape slots, as many as several thousands. our code is very explicitly not aware of the tape's data, and has no way to become so, by drive-interface hardware design

how culpable am I if an abusive actor buys a library and uses it to store facial recognition data, for example? does that culpability change if my employers find out and don't disavow it? how would i/we even take back the library or it's code, or otherwise undo the damage?

these aren't rhetorical questions, I have genuinely no idea and that spooks me a little

(edit) hell, moral culpability aside, what about legal culpability? that just seems :can:

Ciaphas fucked around with this message at 19:33 on Jan 29, 2020

Bloody
Mar 3, 2013



rotor posted:

You are responsible for the things you create, the fact that you give it away for free doesn't absolve you of that.

If you don't think your work should be used for evil, then you need to exert control over it's use. Any of the standard licenses are woefully inadequate, although GPL3 is at least frightening enough to most companies that they'll look elsewhere first.

This of course assumes that people will follow the law. I don't think I need to detail the reasons that this is a bad assumption.

My solution is this: retain control of your work. Sell it or give it away to whomever you like, but retain control of who uses it. At least make some sort of vague effort to prevent your work from being used in a machine of oppression or murder.

rotor
Jun 11, 2001

Official Carrier
of the Neil Bush Torch

 
 
 
 
teh butts


quote:

how culpable am I

again, this is a moral judgement everyone needs to make for themself.

Jonny 290
May 5, 2005




[ASK] me about OS/2 Warp


this affects me because we do CDN a couple of lovely (imo) companies.

the best i could work out was that it was better for me to continue working and donate a bit of that fat tech money to bernie FUCKIN' sanders rather than ragequit my job (because lol they aren't going to drop a customer because of a whiny leftist ticket janitor) and be broke as they continued on with zero impact to their job.

i do think that if you're in a more meaningful position than mine and have some power over licensing / what customers you service, a closer look should be taken at who they are.

MrMoo
Sep 14, 2000



rotor posted:

I really don't get this cultural insistence on producing open source software.

It’s called intellectual progress, only by standing on the shoulders of giants can one stand taller, everything else in humanity operates in that mindset.

Ad a developer you get paid to develop, not to hodl onto bits and bytes.

<Insert link to diatribe from politically licensed software being kicked out of popular software libraries>

CRIP EATIN BREAD
Jun 24, 2002

Hey stop worrying bout my acting bitch, and worry about your WACK ass music. In the mean time... Eat a hot bowl of Dicks! Ice T





Soiled Meat

how can the slf4j author sleep at night

Bloody
Mar 3, 2013



i would speculate that they did not realize their code was being used by human rights violators and now are at least presented with the opportunity to reflect on the ethics and morals of their work

CRIP EATIN BREAD
Jun 24, 2002

Hey stop worrying bout my acting bitch, and worry about your WACK ass music. In the mean time... Eat a hot bowl of Dicks! Ice T





Soiled Meat

honestly its a good thing. all these package managers for code need to go away. you shouldnt be able to just get dependencies whenever you want, you should be explicitly bringing them in by hand, copied one at a time and verifying with the authors you can use it.

this is the best shot we have at eradicating npm/yarn/maven etc.

rotor
Jun 11, 2001

Official Carrier
of the Neil Bush Torch

 
 
 
 
teh butts


MrMoo posted:

It’s called intellectual progress, only by standing on the shoulders of giants can one stand taller, everything else in humanity operates in that mindset.

Great, write a book about your discoveries. Give that book away if you want to.

But in the meantime please don't pretend that an opensource reimplementation of facebook is pushing the frontier of human knowledge forward.


quote:

Ad a developer you get paid to develop, not to hodl onto bits and bytes.

And as a human being, you have to consider the implications of your actions.

rotor
Jun 11, 2001

Official Carrier
of the Neil Bush Torch

 
 
 
 
teh butts


I'm not even saying don't give away the source to your worthless open source bullshit. I'm just saying retain control of it and don't give it to assholes, fascists and murderers.

this seems like the lowest loving bar on earth to me, i don't really understand the objections here

CRIP EATIN BREAD
Jun 24, 2002

Hey stop worrying bout my acting bitch, and worry about your WACK ass music. In the mean time... Eat a hot bowl of Dicks! Ice T





Soiled Meat

this could be easily solved if they just had openjdk, whoever is in charge of python these days, gcc and clang authors, and the ruby guy pulling it. then your libraries arent even an issue.

MrMoo
Sep 14, 2000



rotor posted:

I'm not even saying don't give away the source to your worthless open source bullshit. I'm just saying retain control of it and don't give it to assholes, fascists and murderers.

this seems like the lowest loving bar on earth to me, i don't really understand the objections here

Probably because it turns the custodian into a fascist. Why the obsession with source code, the question equally applies to toilet paper or any material goods.

The philosophical statement is probably along the lines of: who are you to paint everyone good or bad? Is a murder always evil? No, humanity is not that simple.

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rotor
Jun 11, 2001

Official Carrier
of the Neil Bush Torch

 
 
 
 
teh butts


MrMoo posted:

Probably because it turns the custodian into a fascist

yes, exerting control over who i sell or share things to is definitely fascism, very insightful, mmm, yes.

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