Open source biodefense and my question is- my open source sensing term. Both privacy and safety. I don't have to sell to this audience. I am going to skip over this one. So, one thing that is helpful I think, even for us, it's something to think hard about, is which particular cases what needs to be open? One of the things that screwed up was the electronic voting in this country. There was not an understanding of the software and hardware had to be open. It didn't have to be open source per se, but at least source disclosed so that we know what was going on. What needs to be open, what should be open, what must not be open? We want the software and hardware open, that has to be important. The raw data, let's say, online voting, the fact that John Smith voted democratic, that raw data is not supposed to be open. So, what needs to be open and what can be open and what must not be open? We need to parse those out.

What's coming? Sensing. We're going to have great sensors. You've been hearing about ubiquitous sensors, and they are going to detect single molecules, they are going to be programmable, which is great from a DIY perspective. So, they have already started to use these sensors to do some of the important environmental sensors. Pharmaceuticals, the drugs we take, our prescription drugs get into the sewers and go out into the environment. Some folks started to track that, so let's also track illegal drugs. So this is an example, if you want your security sensors, if you're trying to do, if you want them accepted, you better have the procedures be open so that people can tell what is being sensed. And I would say just leave out the illegal drug thing. How would we have this conference if one molecule of an illegal drug set off a sensor, how would we deal with that?

What do we need to keep track of? There are weapons, bioweapons, not a whole lot going on right now, but there will be. Later, what I'm interested in is nanotechnology, nanoweapons, which are nastier, we don't have any now, and we all know the costs of these things are going down, and eventually we're going to have issues. It's not now, it's not even soon. I asked about something to a DIYbio/synbio person. 15 years isn't that log. This is what happens when people get nervous about WMD. This was a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan that got bombed because there was a concern that they were doing WMD development. Oh gosh, that George Bush. Well, no, that was Bill Clinton's presidency actually. You get more and more surveillance. As the people get more nervous you get more surveillance. In our open source community we debate security versus privacy. David Brin is into transparency and Bruce Shneier is into privacy. These are the tools and they are trying to protect us. This is where we're going if we don't change things. Let's do it a different way, let's do our values and our tools, and see if we can get security this way. Let's track the problem, not the people. Let's take a shot at it.

What kind of community can do this, you need to understand security, privacy, functionality and freedom. I think the software community does this pretty well. If you plot privacy versus security, we're in the bottom left. Can you have both at the same time? Is there anything we can do there? And I hope we can. These are some principles you can follow: open source style development, privacy oriented, verifiably limited, detects materials of concern, does not track individuals and non-weapons (drugs). I think that's the way to get compliance and interest from the public.

So, what would you track? There are some real problems- anthrax, sarin, ricin, how many of you heard about what happened in Las Vegas with ricin. Some complete idiot used caster beans, you can make ricin out of caster beans, he wasn't a terrorist, he was just an idiot, he was in a hotel, and somehow they caught this guy. Morons could do this stuff, so later on we could have synthetic biology accidents or abuse, we have some time maybe 15 years, but that's not too long, considering the magnitude of the problem. Who gets the data? Well, you can imagine negotiations, that's a little too exotic here. But there are some folks who don't like the idea of having sensor. There was a proposal at NYC that you have to be licensed to have a sensor, and they were worried about false alarms.

We have to stand up against this. I think we have a freedom to sense and we have to assert that. So, I feel strongly that open source sensing is the way to go here. There's three points that I want to make. One, if we want to have these wonderful environmental sensors, people have to know what they are doing, they have to be verifiably limited, they have to be disclosed. If the data has to do with people being concerned about their medical conditions or illegal drug use, they are going to be nervous. That data has to be protected. And number three, this relates back to the manifesto, it mentioned the concept of responsibility, it's not just responsibility. The day will come when we have problems from synthetic biology that are like the problems on computers- viruses, it's great that the FBI is aware of it, but they are not the ones who are going to solve the problem. We have to be responsible for the whole thing because there isn't anyone else to do it. Asking the federal government to solve this problem for us is like asking the federal government to solve the computer virus problem for us- that would be a huge mistake. We have to be responsible for the whole issue. But usually the solution is to wipe the whole computer (Microsoft Windows).

It's kind of abstract and long-term, so I hope to hear from you.