e-Talk Radio: Daughtrey, Taz, 31 October 2000

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you can and can't do. A lot of the Internet service providers have to constantly remind people not to give out information about their accounts or about passwords and about credit cards, because while there really have never been any documented cases of anyone literally intercepting credit card information. When you're doing a legitimate transaction online, the security, and just the mass of information you have to sift through to find a valid credit card, is protection. So that there really are people who in the normal transactions of using the Internet have not had credit cards stolen from someone just basically dipping into the bit stream. But obviously there have been cases of lots of scams. And lots of scams used to be run by people coming to your door or people calling you on the telephone. Now people are running these kinds of scams on the Internet. And some of them are based on what we call urban legends. Some of them are just based on a confidence game, where people pretend to be someone or ask to have some information, and folks just have to be reminded not to give out the kind of information online the way you wouldn't give it out on the phone or if someone came to your door without proper credentials.

Carol: And that kind of leads us into our next topic. We were going to talk a little bit about professionalism in the software industry. One of the things that my company does is we go in and we teach people in the bona fide software industry how to make their processes better, how to develop better software. But when you go beyond that, when you go beyond the people that are actually trained in computer science or software engineering or engineering and who are developing these large systems, we get beyond and we get people who could be coming out of high school, they could be working, not to pick on any particular industry, but say for example they've driven a long-haul truck for years and years and years and took a two-week Java course. That whole area, I guess, is pretty much opening up. And you were going to say a little bit about your views on professionalism in this whole software industry.

Taz: Right. One of the things that the American Society for Quality, and other professional societies, are encouraging and are supporting is a drive toward professionalism. And that means that there are certain bodies of knowledge that need to be mastered, there are certain professional skills that need to be demonstrated, there are certain responsibilities that people need to have in order to be, not just in an occupation, but to be in a profession. If you think about it, what's happened in law and in medicine and engineering over the years, is that there are restrictions on who can practice or who is recognized as being able to practice. Certainly, if you really want to restrict entry into a profession or restrict entry into practicing some specialty, you license. And there have been over the years some suggestions that programmers, or that software engineers of different sorts, be licensed. Which means they're given permission by the government, and unless they have permission, just like you don't have permission to drive an automobile unless you show some minimum knowledge, you have to pass some sort of test, show some competency and get behind the wheel, and then you get a drivers license. And until you're given that license by whatever state you're in, you don't have

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