CyberTech Rambler

August 9, 2006

Should the cars (data) be held hostage?

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 1:33 pm

Wired News carries a news item about cars being trapped in a mechanized car park because the car park owner (the city council) has a dispute with the car park contractor.

Primarily, it is a software license dispute. The city’s license for the software controlling the robots expired. The collateral damage here is of course cars owner. There is no point arguing who is the victims, agressors etc etc and etc in this blog when I can smell lawsuites flying all over the place. Here, instead, I will concentrate on the cars. My question is, do the contractor has a duty to release the cars?  I believe so. On the expiration of the license, the contractor can choose to refuse to park cars with the robots, but they still have the duty of care to release all the cars still in the car park. I think this is the decent thing to do and something I will like to see that the court held this as a legal requirement.

Now, imagine the cars are data and that you decided to terminate your contract with your business process outsourcing partners. Say this is a payroll contract that is terminated. Should they be allowed not to give you a list of your employees together with the amount of money the received/should received and when? There is going to be legal implication for you if they are allowed to do this. At the very least, your auditor cannot approve your account, and the INS will be extremely unhappy as they cannot audit you.

In short, I believe software are there to provide a service, but the data remains with the owner. If you the owner terminate the service, you don’t get the service, but you will and must be able to get your data back.The service provider should not be able to hold your data hostage.


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