[A2k] Internet Bug Bounty program

Andrew Rens andrewrens at gmail.com
Thu Nov 7 13:38:36 PST 2013

Hi Gérald

You state that your perspective is "informed by .. French/European
culture, where public goods are usually funded by States and much less
by private sponsor"

There is of course a major exception to this. The entire structure of
intellectual property constitutes an attempt, whether successful or
not by states to use a legal mechanism to encourage private parties to
supply public goods i.e. knowledge goods. The state certainly
intervenes in the economy by creating and granting monopolies but that
isn't usually characterized as state funding.

Developing countries are under considerable pressure to grant ever
more extensive monopolies under the title of IP and to use limited
state resources to enforce these monopolies. From a developing country
perspective the enthusiasm for this scheme of producing public goods
by private sponsors seems just as great in Europe as in the United

If prizes successfully encourage the production of knowledge goods by
private actors without the relentless demands that developing
countries institute and police monopolies then from a developing
country perspective they are preferable to the approach taken by the
European Commission.

Of course if I were a developer the only reason I would want to
contribute to Internet Explorer (who uses that anyway?) would be for
material gain, whereas there are multiple reasons to contribute to
open source projects.

But there may be a sub-text here, in offering prizes to encourage
developers to repair security vulnerabilities for Internet users are
Microsoft and Facebook implicitly critiquing the use of such
vulnerabilities by state actors to enable surveillance?

Andrew Rens

Andrew Rens

On 7 November 2013 14:41, "Gérald Sédrati-Dinet (Gibus)"
<gibus at april.org> wrote:
> Le 07/11/2013 17:46, Jamie Love a écrit :
>> KEI and others are encouraging governments to create prize funds to induce
>> open source innovations for medical technologies.  This is an interesting
>> example of the use of innovation prizes in a related field: software.  Jamie
>> Now there’s a bug bounty program for the whole Internet
>> Sponsored by Microsoft and Facebook, program pays researchers big cash
>> rewards.
> Maybe my opinion is biased by my French/European culture, where public
> goods are usually funded by States and much less by private sponsor.
> But I find quite stupid for a researcher to work in a program sponsored
> by Microsoft and Facebook. These companies are among the main opponents
> to freedoms and values we are defending. Why would we help them to debug
> their shity software which are actually a threat to freedoms? In
> exchange for a big cash reward?
> Sorry I just don't understand why Jamie and Dan Goodin are promoting a
> program to improve Internet Explorer or Flash.
> --
> Gérald Sédrati-Dinet
> http://pascontent.sedrati-dinet.net     http://www.april.org
> http://www.unitary-patent.eu            http://laquadrature.net
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