The Risks Digest

The RISKS Digest

Forum on Risks to the Public in Computers and Related Systems

ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy, Peter G. Neumann, moderator

Volume 1 Issue 25

Sunday, 1 Nov 1985


oSome Thoughts on Unpredicted Long-Term Risks
Peter G. Neumann
o Computer snafu halts treasury
Peter G. Trei
o "Hacker" Game
Ken Brown; Keith F. Lynch
Werner Uhrig

Some Thoughts on Unpredicted Long-Term Risks

Peter G. Neumann <Neumann@SRI-CSL.ARPA>
Sun 1 Dec 85 16:00:32-PST
This is a short note on the subject of how little we understand or are
willing to admit about long-term effects (whether eventually very obvious
effects or sometimes long-hidden side-effects) — and of how, even if a risk
is known, it may be suppressed.

The front page of today's NY Times (Sunday 1 Dec 85) has two articles on
Bhopal, one year after.  Stuart Diamond's article begins, "Medical studies
conducted in the year since the chemical leak ... indicate that the chemical
responsible for the accident causes serious long-term health problems that
were unknown before the disaster."  Furthermore, the Bhopal problems appear
to have been due not just to the pesticide ingredient methyl isocynate, but
to an unforeseen chemical reaction that transformed so

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