OMB: Clamp down on P2P

OMB memo on P2P

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Federal chief information officers received a reminder this week that peer-to-peer file sharing is an activity that, in most cases, should not be tolerated on federal networks.

A Sept. 8 memo from Karen Evans, administrator for information technology and e-government in the Office of Management and Budget, asked CIOs to monitor and enforce federal policies on employees' use of P2P technology. The memo cites no recent incidents or statistics on P2P file sharing by federal employees.

Evans set a Dec. 1 deadline for agency officials to create or update policies to prohibit the most notorious uses of P2P file sharing -- trading copyrighted music files or pornography.

In 1999, CIO Council members issued guidelines urging agency officials to adopt policies prohibiting the use of federal computer systems or networks -- or those operated by contractors for the government -- for downloading illegal or unauthorized copyrighted material.

In her memo, Evans asked federal CIOs to make their policies consistent with the 1999 guidelines and to put controls in place to prevent illegal or unauthorized P2P file sharing.

This year, for the first time, OMB officials also require CIOs to report whether they provide employee training on the appropriate use of P2P file sharing. CIOs are required to include that information in agency security reports that they must submit to OMB officials by Oct. 6. The annual reports are mandatory under the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002.

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