Marcy Levitas Hamilton, a media corporation CEO, has filed suit and is seeking to class action status for her complaint against Microsoft. Hamilton says that the software giant is responsible for a cracker’s being able to steal her Social Security number’s using a flaw in Microsoft’s software.
This is a new type of complaint: holding Microsoft legally responsible for the security of its applications and operating systems because the software maker’s disclaimers against responsibility for security flaws are an unfair business practice under the laws of California since consumers have few options other than using Microsoft products.
This is an interesting legal argument: should software makers be held to a standard of liability similar to the standards of other major industries.
Microsoft says that Hamilton’s law suit is misdirected because the theft is the work of vandals. But I think Microsoft is missing the point — it manages the only building in town and left the door open. Shouldn’t Microsoft, as the only landlord in town, be responsible to lock the door against the vandals?
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