Jul 252007

From Ars Technica

Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA), Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform was quoted today as saying:

“We used the most popular P2P program, LimeWire, and ran a series of basic searches,” Waxman said. “What we found was astonishing: personal bank records and tax forms, attorney-client communications, the corporate strategies of Fortune 500 companies, confidential corporate accounting documents, internal documents from political campaigns, government emergency response plans, and even military operation orders.”

The good news seems to be that the government isn’t ready to go after P2P itself for these problems, but is placing the blame squarely where it belongs – on the bureaucrats who install such software on machines with confidential information:

Mary Engle, the associate director for advertising practices at the FTC, didn’t sound quite as ready to blame P2P software for the problem of sharing sensitive information. “The FTC staff concluded that P2P file-sharing, like many other consumer technologies, is a ‘neutral’ technology,” she told the Committee. “That is, its risks result largely from how individuals use the technology rather than being inherent in the technology itself.”

She elaborated on this point by reminding the Committee of the risks from web browsing, downloading software, and using e-mail and instant messaging software; P2P may have risks, but so do plenty of other technologies that are in no danger of government regulation.

Lesson learned – Government is still incompetent, but it can slowly see the light.

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