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House Committee Passes "Informed P2P User Act" 235

An anonymous reader writes "This week the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed the 'Informed P2P User Act' and has sent it along to the full House for consideration. The bill, which appears to have heavy support on both sides of the political fence, simply states that P2P software must not install extra software or prevent users from removing it, in addition to being 'clear and conspicuous' about which files are being shared and getting user consent to share them. 'Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), the powerful committee chairman, opened the markup session by warning about "the danger of inadvertent sharing of sensitive information through the use, or misuse, of certain file sharing programs. Tax returns, medical files, and even classified government documents have been found on these networks. The purpose of H.R. 1319 is to reduce inadvertent disclosures of sensitive information by making the users of this software more aware of the risks involved."'"
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House Committee Passes "Informed P2P User Act"

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  • Re:Mod parent up (Score:3, Informative)

    by ajs ( 35943 ) <> on Friday October 02, 2009 @01:29PM (#29618941) Homepage Journal

    Yeh, that's the important point. Why not just ban spyware, period?

    Spyware violates electronic privacy laws that already exist.

  • Re:Spill the beans (Score:3, Informative)

    by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Friday October 02, 2009 @01:39PM (#29619075) Homepage
    As long as you make it clear and consice that anything and everything can be shared, and that the user agrees to this, I see no problem with programs like these operating. What it's really designed to stop is P2P applications getting installed that don't tell the user they are sharing the whole C: drive by default. As long as you tell the user exactly what is happening, and they agree to it, there is no problem.
  • Re:Why P2P (Score:2, Informative)

    by interval1066 ( 668936 ) on Friday October 02, 2009 @01:39PM (#29619079) Homepage Journal

    @Drunken Buddhist: "Did someone forget to inform this senator that we (the US) no longer own the internets?"

    The US didn't "own" the (sic) "internets". The US ran ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which is the root level domain server system. Important, but its not ownership. There are talks of alternative domain name root systems, but I don't know how far implemented those are. If you control ICANN, you control the internet to a certain extent, but anyone can set up a root name system, and indeed there are private root name servers for companies and other entities that want to manage private name systems all the time.

  • Re:Spill the beans (Score:1, Informative)

    by rcolbert ( 1631881 ) on Friday October 02, 2009 @01:55PM (#29619259)
    This is exactly right. The bill is masquerading as an attempt to protect the user, but in reality is trying to remove any form of plausible deniability so that P2P users are easier to prosecute. Did we really think the government cares about P2P users? Of course not. P2P has a dirty reputation on Capitol Hill. I bet that most legislators would sooner presume guilt of a P2P user than a Guantanamo detainee.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 02, 2009 @01:58PM (#29619315)

    You agree to a TOS which says that Blizzard can install and run whatever they want on your box. I'm doubt this law will have any impact whatsoever on that.

    Or on anything for that matter. This sounds like more pointless Washington bullshit.

  • Re:Spill the beans (Score:5, Informative)

    by icebike ( 68054 ) on Friday October 02, 2009 @02:21PM (#29619629)

    Even more interesting is the provision right up front in section 2.a.2 exempting preloaded software on new computers as long as somewhere in the 40 pages of tiny print the purchaser is told that a back-door sharing program is installed.

    So preloaded sharing programs and spyware installed by Sony is ok then...

    The bill is 7 pages, people. READ IT. []

  • Re:Ulterior motive? (Score:3, Informative)

    by westlake ( 615356 ) on Friday October 02, 2009 @02:31PM (#29619737)

    This is of course, only possible if the writers of P2P software actually give two hoots about the bill.....

    The author might not care. But the distributor will.

    No downloads from CNET - and - quite possibly - no downloads through Sourceforge or your favorite Linux repository either.

    The distributor is exposed and he is likely to have a legally and financially significant presence in the U.S.

    He can be reached and he can be hurt.

  • Re:Why P2P (Score:2, Informative)

    by AndrewNeo ( 979708 ) on Friday October 02, 2009 @03:20PM (#29620255) Homepage

    And the person sharing Rocky 17 CAN'T say "I had no idea that file was being shared", which has been a defense in the past.

    And now someone using that as a defense will have no excuse, because they'll be informed that they are indeed sharing that file, and if they were lying, well.

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky