Politicians Blame P2P Software For Not Stopping Gov't Employee Stupidity

from the no,-seriously dept

Would you elect as your Congressional representative someone who blamed automakers because a bad driver crashed a car through his or her own negligence? Would you elect as your Congressional representative someone who claimed that email was a threat to national security because it can (and has) been used by spies to transmit confidential data? Probably not. Why? Because that's clearly misplaced blame. However, it appears that we have elected Congressional representatives who have made an almost identical argument and stick by it when it's pointed out how ridiculous it is. A bunch of our representatives are pushing for laws against file sharing networks claiming that file sharing is a national security threat. Why? Because some idiot government employees, against gov't regulations and policy, installed file sharing networks on their computers and then screwed up the installation to make confidential files available via P2P. Yes. Because government employees are stupid and disobeying rules, file sharing system providers must be punished. This is based on an equally poorly argued USPTO report from a few months ago that incorrectly blamed P2P networks for gov't employees stupidity.

In the meantime, while this magical law is being written, (and we can't wait to see the law that will somehow punish P2P software providers in a way that prevents gov't employee stupidity), many Congresscritters teamed up to scold the head of file sharing software firm Limewire. Rep. Jim Cooper accused Limewire's CEO of being naive (amusing, since Cooper doesn't appear to understand what he's talking about) and claiming that Limewire provided the "skeleton keys" to accessing material that harms national security. If that's true, then it's equally true that any internet provider is providing similar skeleton keys. And any search engine. Plus any computer maker. Or any telephone maker or service provider. They're all about as equally guilty as any P2P provider. Yet why isn't Cooper harassing any of their executives? Cooper goes on to demonstrate his complete ignorance of what's going on by saying: "you seem to lack imagination about how your product can be deliberately misused by evildoers against this country." That's laughably wrong. The misuse isn't by so-called "evildoers." It's by gov't employees who are disobeying policy and stupidly revealing confidential documents by misusing the software. Rep. Darrell Issa then warned Limewire that it may find itself legally liable if someone were stupid enough to share their tax returns via Limewire. Does this mean if I were so stupid to post my tax returns to Blogspot that I could sue Google? Technically, that's no different than Issa's argument. This is yet another case where politicians want to regulate a technology they don't understand.

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  1. identicon
    Shun, 25 Jul 2007 @ 3:33pm

    Police in Japan

    Post #2 mentioned that a government employee, actually it was a cop, who had a P2P program on his machine. He shared out some very confidential files, indeed.

    At any rate, the government's reaction was rational : they fired him, then tried to cover up the damage that they did. They did not go after the makers of the p2p software, knowing full well that it was hopeless.

    I would think that the government could follow the simple rule that the enemy you know is better than the enemy you make. By "banning" p2p makers, you will only drive innovation off the island. Way to go America! Thanks for the Dark Ages, Part II.

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