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July 25, 2007

House Holds Hearings on P2P Role in Subverting National Security

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing yesterday on peer-to-peer networks and their ability to compromise government security.  The only person representing peer-to-peer networks was Mark Gorton, chairman of Lime Wire.  Did he get an earful.  Aside from the fact that he was told his and similar p2p networks were national security risks, they were deliberately being used by evildoers. 

The problem arises from the fact that a person with p2p software installed can share files unwittingly, and some of those files may be sensitive security documents on government computers.  This is relatively true if someone uses these programs casually.  But one has to ask why p2p software is on any government computer at all?  What are these people doing?  Sharing music, videos, porn, or other personal stuff on government work time?  Peer-to-peer has some interesting legal applications.  The Joost video service plans to operate peer-to-peer once it gets out of beta, and that should be legally licensed materials. 

Other employers have rules about personal matters on work computers and work time.  If Congress is going to huff and puff over this, it should be at government managers for letting their employees put this type of software on their machines.  It doesn't take an act of Congress to tighten government computer security.

CNET has a good report on what went on at the hearing.  The House Committee site has documents witness statements, and a streaming video (Windows Media) of the hearing.

July 25, 2007 | Permalink

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