by Mike Masnick

Patent Office Says File Sharing Is A National Security Risk

from the oh,-come-on dept

The entertainment industry has long tried all sorts of tactics to demonize file sharing systems, and all too often politicians seem to accept those claims. For a while, politicians started claiming that file sharing networks were a threat because they exposed children to porn. This went on long after studies showed that the risk was no different from the regular internet. The latest, though, (submitted by John) is that the US Patent Office (who has always been friendly with the entertainment industry due to their similar views on intellectual property) has put out a report claiming that file sharing networks are a threat to national security. It discusses how these file sharing networks default to "share everything" mode and how that's useful to identity thieves, but then notes that government employees are using the networks and may be accidentally sharing confidential documents.

There is some precedent for such claims. After all, Japan admitted that a contractor with a file sharing system on his laptop had accidentally revealed nuclear secrets a few years ago. Of course, like this report, the Japanese government started out by blaming the software, not realizing it wasn't the software's fault at all. Instead, it's the lax security policies of a government that lets people with classified information on their laptops install programs without any oversight and without any recognition that those programs might be opening up security holes. The fault isn't with the file sharing systems -- but with the security policies of government agencies.

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  1. identicon
    Aged2perfekshun, 9 Mar 2007 @ 8:26am

    Maybe I misunderstood

    But I thought p2p programs (the ones I use have it) have a single directory they log into in order to store files, and certain directories you make available for uploading to peers.

    I assumed that mean't the program and therefore the peer, could only access those directories.

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