Lawmakers target P2P

Agencies and departments will have to crack down on peer-to-peer file sharing under new bipartisan legislation introduced today in the House.

House Government Reform Committee chair Tom Davis (R-Va.) joined ranking minority member Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) in introducing the bill. Under the measure, federal agencies would have to protect their computers from what Waxman and Davis described as the security risks of peer-to-peer programs, which allow users to share files directly from their computers to other computers.

Commercial peer-to-peer services like Napster and Kazaa have run afoul of copyright laws and sparked recording industry litigation. However, Davis pointed to dangers that go beyond depriving Madonna of a royalty check.

"Another less publicized dark side to this technology is the risk it poses to the security of computers and the privacy of electronic information," Davis said in a statement. "Few people recognize these risks. Using these programs is similar to giving a complete stranger access to your personal file cabinet."

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