House passes P2P software reform bill

Proposal would restrict peer-to-peer software on all federal government and contractor computers

The House has passed a bill that would restrict the use of peer-to-peer software on all federal government computers to improve security.

H.R. 4098 would ban the recreational use of P2P software on all federal computers, systems and networks including those belonging to government contractors, according to a statement by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which had jurisdiction over the bill. The measure passed 408-13 on March 24.

The bill would also require the Office of Management and Budget to approve legitimate uses of P2P software on a case-by-case basis and annually provide Congress with a list of agencies that are using such software and the reasons for doing so.

“We can no longer ignore the threat to sensitive government information, businesses and consumers that insecure peer-to-peer networks pose," said Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), the committee's chairman. "Securing federal computer files is critical to our national security.”

Earlier, Towns said the bill was needed to avoid future security lapses similar to the information leaks about the president's Marine One helicopters and Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer's finances.

The measure now moves to the Senate for consideration.

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.

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