The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports. Placing blame and legal liability for faulty security software on technology vendors and merchants is a timely and compelling one. Software failure has been democratized in the networked environment, drilling down beyond public institutions and corporations. When security software doesn't work, we, our friends, neighbours and family risk having our personal lives laid open to scrutiny and our pocketbooks held hostage to a growing legion of cyber-fraudsters. Despite shrill protestations to the opposite on hacker sites and forums, software companies are not turning a blind eye to the problem. They discuss these issues ad nauseam at such annual events as the Software Reliability Engineering Workshop. At the same time, however, they concede that the interface between design and product is human and fallible. It's impossible to design perfect software. Still, with so much personal information now stored electronically, the public will demand that security software be iron-clad. They won't pay much heed to the fine print when lawyers press merchants on their promises of secure transactions. As American Express has demonstrated with its recent decision on adult content, the credit card companies are approaching the virtual marketplace with self-interested restraint — though Canadian merchants have chafed at their caution over the years. Business and government can only rely on the opinions of experts and third party accreditation bodies in the course of doing due diligence when choosing security software to protect the rest of us. We rely on security software vendors to tell their customers and the public at large what the real dangers are. Sites that collect personal and financial information are either secure or not, and the vendors which promise security in the large print of their sales pitch should be held to their word, no matter what the fine print says. Would that stifle the growth of ecom and the development of new technology? Perhaps. But the public interest is clearly more important now than ever.