Introducing a few changes in the way that society looks at the software development industry will help improve the relationship between the programmers and the customers. First, introducing a licensing requirement for all software developers could improve the training and provide the ability to regulate unacceptable behavior. As software developers become licensed, they will see that they place that license in jeopardy if they publish subpar programs without supporting them. Licensing will also lend credence to the software development profession that has begun to show signs of being undermined by shoddy workmanship by what we hope to be a few programmers.
A second change would be to create software liability laws. This step will require a bit more work and investment. Creating laws is not always a safe way to effect change. The law must be crafted with great care to prevent loopholes that allows the people it is designed to protect from become victims of it. By creating a law that places the software designer liable for the work they produce, society will have recourse to resolve issues. This process will be slower, but a more powerful way to bring larger companies to fixing know software issues.
The Problem with Software Liability
The problem with software liability is that during the first three decades of computerization, the IT environment was much simpler. Programs and data were internally produced and centrally managed. Today, however, knowledge workers must look beyond the firm to satisfy their information needs. Developments such as executive information systems, computer networks, electronic bulletin boards, and end-user computing demonstrate the scope of this change. Also indicative of this transformation is the need of top managers for information external to the organization (Jones and McLeod, 1986; Sprague and McNurlin, 1986). In response to this technological change, laws concerning information use have also undergone dramatic change. Unfortunately, the evolving legal environment has become a patchwork of new and reapplied laws that offer little clarity on underlying issues. While public awareness of the vulnerability of information systems to misuse is periodically aroused by media coverage of specific incidents, there is a lack of...