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Last week end users of applications with Open Street Map data were the first ones to spot hackers in the system.
This raises interesting questions about who is responsible for quality assurance and security. Crowd sourced data and even open source software tends to rely on the honesty and integrity of the community that builds it. This unfortunately can then leave it vulnerable to the bad guys. In this case the data that feeds the mapping service, that is then consumed by others as a commercial product, was hacked. Errors that were corrected in the source data were not immediately corrected in the applications that feed off them. It serves us all to think through all the components that make up a solution for users, including the source data.
@Rose Winterton? this does highlight a risk of open source data that is easy to overlook - one of the big benefits (that it is crowd sourced) is offset by the vulnerability to this type of action (either intentional or accidental), great care needs to be taken to minimise these risks. If the malicious update targeted the spatial integrity of the dataset (not a cosmetic alteration such as a label) than the potential implications are even more significant.