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Censorship Government United States Your Rights Online

US Lawmakers Set Sights On P2P Programs 180

After the FTC sent letters to 100 organizations warning them that their data is being leaked on P2P networks — and now has requested detailed operational data from at least a subset of those organizations — it was pretty likely that anti-P2P legislation would get proposed. Two senators have introduced the P2P Cyber Protection and Informed User Act, which "...would prohibit peer-to-peer file-sharing programs from being installed without the informed consent of the authorized computer user. The legislation would also prohibit P2P software that would prevent the authorized user from blocking the installation of a P2P file-sharing program and/or disabling or removing any P2P file-sharing program. Software developers would be required to clearly inform users when their files are made available to other peer-to-peer users under legislation introduced Feb. 24 by Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and John Thune, R-S.D."
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US Lawmakers Set Sights On P2P Programs

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  • by ( 245670 ) on Friday February 26, 2010 @01:10PM (#31287040)

    First of all, I find it hard to believe that it isn't already illegal to surreptitiously install software on someone's computer. And even more illegal to install software that steals data.

    Second, if that's not already illegal, why are they making a law that only targets one specific type of software?

    Either the entire plan is utterly ignorant or this is a "foot in the door" to outlaw P2P. Either way, I think our government has more important issues to deal with right now.

  • by Hazelfield ( 1557317 ) on Friday February 26, 2010 @01:12PM (#31287074)
    So we're looking at a law that requries P2P software to inform about what P2P means and demand explicit consent from the user (which everyone will doubtlessly click away as readily as we dismiss EULAs, i.e. as soon as we've found the right button).

    To me it looks like a cheap and easy way of making it look like you're solving a problem. Doesn't say anything about the severity of that problem or the efficiency of the solution, but you can't get everything I suppose.
  • Minus p2p (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Strilanc ( 1077197 ) on Friday February 26, 2010 @01:22PM (#31287256)

    If you remove 'p2p' from this, it almost makes sense. Not allowing software to stealth-install or block uninstallation? Why isn't that already a law?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26, 2010 @01:45PM (#31287652)

    This is not censorship. It is attempting to make illegal the uninvited installation of P2P and related technologies, such as with malware. As a nice side effect, it would also make it illegal for idiot users to install P2P clients on their work machines without permission from the IT staff. This is a VERY FUCKING GOOD THING and it does not in any way infringe on anybody's rights nor is it censorship of any sort. You are still free to install and use P2P technologies on your own machines.

  • by petermgreen ( 876956 ) <.plugwash. .at.> on Friday February 26, 2010 @02:32PM (#31288546) Homepage

    Bittorrent is an awesome protocol. It's a leap technologically from the old server/client download model
    Not really, peer to peer in general and bittorrent in particular is a reaction to a few things

    1: upside-down pricing models that make end users upstream essentially free but hosting bandwidth expensive.
    2: trying to get central warez hubs off on the technicality that they aren't actually distributing the warez.
    3: the lack of multicast on the regular internet.

    Technically IMO pushing content unnessaceraly through users very limited upstreams is a majoor step backwards,

  • Watch For Riders (Score:3, Interesting)

    by IonOtter ( 629215 ) on Friday February 26, 2010 @02:51PM (#31288816) Homepage

    This bill in and of itself doesn't seem so bad? Pretty stock, kinda blah, a bit silly that such a thing is being seen as requiring a law?

    But there's two potential paths.

    1. This could be used to add more charges to spammers once they get caught. Stacking the offenses, so to speak, which is fine by me, really?

    2. This is a "gimme" bill, one that's sure to pass because it's so simple and palatable. At least until they start tacking on riders, anyway? Now you've got a mild bill that has a few dozen rabid hyenas stapled to it, that nobody wants to try and kill. "Think of the Children" bills are notorious for this.

  • Sony (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26, 2010 @03:29PM (#31289412)

    But why have a law restricted to p2p software? Wouldn't it make more sense to prohibit this sort of hidden installation of any software?

    Sony would lobby against that type of law. :)

  • by HungryHobo ( 1314109 ) on Friday February 26, 2010 @04:15PM (#31289938)

    Why the focus on P2P?

    Surely it would be better to target all malware writers who silently install ANY software on your computer and use your bandwidth without your knowledge.

    Is it really better if it's an FTP server the malware installs rather than a bittorrent client?

  • by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Friday February 26, 2010 @06:20PM (#31291432)

    Superficially this is just yet more legislation that demonstrates how little our legislators actually understand the issue or the tech involved.

    My guess is that this is actually a well-reasoned step by the music & movie industries to make non-technical people (including legislators) incorrectly beleive that P2P itself (which is just an internet protocol) is somehow intrinsically bad. It makes their next step, trying to convince lawmakers to make any/all P2P illegal, easier if they are misled first.

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.