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Technological Turf Wars: A Case Study of the Computer Antivirus Industry

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Computer security is a technical and social problem. It is just as much about social relationships as it is about computers as tools. Internet security professionals are as concerned with how people use information as they are with how machines manipulate and process that information. This book is a case study of how the knowledge systems articulated by computer antivirus industry professionals affect technological security. It analyzes the tensions and political dilemmas at the heart of the interrelationships among science, technology, and society.

All technologies involve ‘scripts’. A computer virus is a metaphor that generates images of global viral epidemics and outbreaks, of infectious code reeking havoc on personal computers and global information networks, and of machines that no longer respond to or are under our control. The reality of infected computers generates an entire industry seemingly dedicated to protecting computers and their users from infection, and disinfecting those that succumb. Indeed, those who work within the antivirus industry perpetuate this scripted imagery, and consider themselves part of a security force that polices the ‘dark alleys’ of the ‘information superhighway’.
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