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Subject: A brief word on politics and technology (was: ebXML core componentsderivation by restriction)


As much as the subject of US foreign policy intrigues and invokes strong 
feelings, I firmly believe that we, as scientists and technologists, 
must make a clear separation of science and politics.  The people on 
this list are not responsible for US policy nor is this the place to 
discuss it.  

The issue of science and politics is a subject that I have lived with 
all my life - my great uncle Kenneth Mackenzie worked on the Manhattan 
project. As World War II neared, my uncle was assigned to help solve the 
problem of large-scale separation of uranium-235 at the federal Oak 
Ridge, Tenn., laboratory, a crucial step in the Manhattan Project to 
create the atom bomb.  Our family has always questioned the values of 
technology and it's relationship to politics.  Sometimes it is a hard 
subject to think about.  What if someone uses ebXML or web services 
technology to hurt others?  Are we responsible?

A book on this subject called "Hitler's scientists" explores the 
relationships between technology and politics.  After reading the book, 
I am convinced that a separation exists, even if those who develop the 
technology have clear political motives.  Technology by itself is not 
inherently good or evil, it just is.  Just as people may find good uses 
for it, others will use it for nefarious purposes for our creations. 
 This may range from flagging a "mustRespond" attribute to launch a 
smurf style attack to using x509 certificate to encrypt messages tat 
challenge our way of life.

Let's keep the discussion on this list strictly to technology and leave 
the politics for our personal time.   Thank you for listening to my 
$0.02 worth.

Thank you.

Duane Nickull

More on my uncle:

Speaking only for myself today......

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