[SpaceProgram] Ethics ( Warning Non - Tech Thread )

Luke Weston reindeerflotilla at gmail.com
Tue Jan 3 11:24:46 CET 2012

Basically, the way ASRI operates in regard to these issues, for
example, is according to a few basic principles:

- Cooperate with local laws of our country.
- Cooperate with anything that the government asks us to do.
- Pay attention to what the Missile Technology Control Regime says.
- If in doubt, ask for advice from the Australian Safeguards and
Nonproliferation Office (or whatever the equivalent government legal
experts are in your country.)
- There's no need to go overboard with suppression of technology or
censorship because of fear of terrorists etc, over and above what
you're actually legally and politically obligated to do. If there is a
real threat or real risk, I'm sure they will set the actual legal
obligations up in a way such that they mitigate the threat

If you're not actually working with sufficiently powerful launch
vehicle hardware or components thereof that are considered sensitive
according to the MTCR treaties/guidelines, then there's probably not
really much if anything that is worth worrying about.

This stuff is all specific to ASRI and the Australian laws, but it's
probably worth reading just as an example.



On Tue, Jan 3, 2012 at 4:50 PM, Matt Joyce <matt at nycresistor.com> wrote:
> What I want from this discussion is simple.  Respond to this question:
>>>> Should there be a responsible disclosure/ethical policy ( or oath ) in
>>>> open source / hackerspace space exploration ?  ( Yes , No and justifying
>>>> opinion if you like ) :
> I say yes.  Open Sourcing space exploration is awesome.  On the US side of
> things, NASA or at least parts of NASA have been trying for years (
> sometimes successfully ) to engage the public and private sector in efforts
> that assist in space exploration.  In fact, that's what NASA exists to
> achieve.
> However, space exploration can be dangerous business.  And I am not just
> referring to the threats facing anything that leaves our planet ( which are
> considerable ).  What I am referring to is to the wonderful folks who end up
> underneath those things.
> Now there's a myriad of potentially nasty things smart folks can achieve.
> Space exploration tends to rely on some technology that is very easy to
> adapt towards very nasty use cases.
> I am probably more cautious than most in this regard, as I keep my personal
> "do no harm" approach to life very seriously.  However, I would like there
> to be some personal responsibility taken by any open source or hackerspace
> born initiative entering into this area of technology.  In the 80s and 90s
> hackers ( some of them us ) did some pretty terrible stuff while figuring
> out how this internet stuff was going to work.  Early exploit writers
> figured out the idea of responsible disclosure.  Something that even the
> folks at wikileaks acknowledged is a sane and worthwhile investment in
> effort.... well at least loosely.  And while I know ethics discussions are
> like gasoline to hackers mailing lists...  Space exploration is
> engineering.  Any engineering requires people consider the consequences of
> their actions.
> Nick Farr and several others have identified a consequence they would like
> to achieve...  free communication between all peoples.  No censorship.
> Something I generally support.
> But, at the same time, I don't want anything I work on to kill people.  It's
> possible these two things may run into each other depending on the
> perspective / situation.
> I'd like very much for some sort of formal agreement to exist between people
> working on this sort of stuff...  Don't want to dictate any terms, but I
> feel like if we're going to go down this road, we need to set some boundary
> conditions.
> Hell it's early... but all we need is someone to start posting cheap guided
> rocket designs to thingiverse and very soon there will be some very loud and
> angry people causing a lot of trouble for us all.  So consider this a
> pre-emptive flame bait... without the goal of starting a misguided
> argument.
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