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What is Reverse Engineering?

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by

Tim Reitz

on 3 December 2013

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Transcript of What is Reverse Engineering?

What is Reverse Engineering?
Reverse engineering is defined by Merriam Webster as "to disassemble and examine or analyze in detail (as a product or device) to discover the concepts involved in manufacture usually in order to produce something similar." This basically means to disassemble something to figure out how it works to make something like it.
What is our Stance?
We believe reverse engineering is an acceptable practice because:
It's an industry standard
It speeds up product development across the industry for both the copying company and the company being copied.
It is used to help improve the military and national security
Reverse engineering only helps learn how a product works. It does not allow theft of copy right material.
Some view reverse engineering as unethical. Some reasons behind this include:
Stealing the hard work and research performed by others
Potentially stealing revenue from companies that first developed the reverse engineered product
This is potentially fatal for small companies
May promote laziness in the engineering practice
Creates ambiguous legal situations, which can lead to lawsuits
Cases Supporting Reverse Engineering
Apple vs. Samsung - Samsung and others reverse engineered iPhones to make their own products more competitive. This meant the iPhone would no longer be far above other smart phones on the market.
The military - The U.S. military was able to secure a Russian MiG-25 and reverse engineer it to help improve our air craft and find the weaknesses of other air craft.
Conclusions
Reverse engineering may not be ethical in every instance, but it is still an important process.
It helps our military improve our technology and know the technology capabilities of other nations
It helps advance technical industries by driving companies to continually strive for distinction
Standing on the shoulders of others in something we as humans do all the time
The Opposing View
Full transcript