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University of New South Wales Faculty of Law Research Series

Faculty of Law, UNSW
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Aycock, John; Maurushat, Alana --- "“Good” Worms and Human Rights" [2009] UNSWLRS 6

Last Updated: 20 March 2009

“Good” Worms and Human Rights

John Aycock, University of Calgary
Alana Maurushat, University of New South Wales

This paper will shortly be available for download.


The extended version of this article may be found at J. Aycock and A. Maurushat. "Good" Worms and Human Rights <> , ACM SIGCAS Computers & Society 38, 1 (March 2008), pp. 28-39.


The extent of Internet censorship in countries like China is regularly tested, but the testing methods used from within a censored country can entail risk for humans. A benevolent worm can be used for testing instead: the worm’s self-replication, long the bane of suggested benevolent viruses and worms, is shown to be essential here. We describe the design of this benevolent worm, along with some other related applications for it. A full technical, ethical, and legal analysis is provided.

Disclaimer: the following paper discusses a novel type of computer worm. Release of such a worm, and possibly even its creation, could result in severe legal penalties. We do not advocate the creation and release of this worm, but present it here for research purposes only.

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