Stepped up regulation and liability are in store for the IT industry as software failures increasingly have the potential to disrupt lives.
The multitrillion-dollar IT industry’s status of freedom from liability for consequences of product and service failure is historically unique and extraordinary, argues the author, and it is nearing its end. In a world increasingly dependent on software to run critical systems, including cardiac devices, financial markets and transportation systems, the potential for catastrophic and lethal failures increases. However, in the U.S. and elsewhere, at least where life and limb are not involved, it is technology users, not providers, that are regulated. Technology providers have benefited from a series of inhibiting factors including early legal settlement, corporate users being unwilling to offend their IT providers, and aggressive self-regulation in the industry. Eventually, the author argues, this will not be enough to stem the tide of IT regulation, and IT providers must be prepared for that day.