Sunday, July 3, 2022

Seeking panelists for podcast on how to ensure security in open and closed app markets

It's been more than a year since the last FOSS Patents podcast, which was about developments relating to standard-essential patents. The next one will have a rather different focus: the security of open and closed app markets.

All around the globe, lawmakers, regulators, and courts are looking into, and in some cases are trying hard to open up, walled gardens like Apple's iOS App Store and Google Play (the dominant Android app store). From the app market-specific passages of South Korea's 2021 Telecommunication Business Act and the related Enforcement Decree to the Digital Markets Act (which is on the European Parliament's plenary agenda for tomorrow) to the Open App Markets Act proposal (U.S. Congress) to Epic Games v. Apple, change is coming. But Apple and Google--and various people on their payrolls--argue that "sideloading" and third-party app stores compromise security. Not just your security or mine, even national security.

These days (national) security arguments come up in different technology policy contexts. Without a doubt, security is important--but this doesn't mean every (national) security argument withstands scrutiny.

Let's take an analytical approach:

What is done--and what can still be done--to ensure that users can safely download and execute apps? What are the main threats? What role does (manual) app review play as compared to technology, especially the operating system? Would notarization of apps passing a security check be helpful? What security risks emanate from browsers? Does competition result in security improvements?

Those are just some of the questions I have in mind for a panel discussion in the form of a podcast. There won't be time to discuss all of them, at least not in a single podcast. Also, I'm open to other suggestions.

If you'd like to participate or suggest someone I should invite, or provide other input, please send me an email. My address couldn't be easier to guess: it's first name dot last name at this blog's Internet domain. Thanks in advance!

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