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Proposed Peer-To-Peer Law Sparks Animosity

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the series-of-tubes dept.

The Internet 168

coondoggie writes "The Federal Trade Commission and Distributed Computing Industry Association locked horns over a proposed law that would govern how peer-to-peer networking technology would be used and regulated. Before the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection, the Federal Trade Commission expressed its doubts about companies protecting sensitive consumer information (PDF) or sensitive data over P2P internet file-sharing networks. It doesn't help the P2P cause that the technology continues to pop up in bad practices. Recently a company that monitors peer-to-peer networks said it found classified information about the systems used onboard the president's helicopter in a shared folder on a computer in Iran, after a file containing the data was accidentally leaked on a peer-to-peer network last summer. Meanwhile the DCIA said any laws would likely be ineffective and stifle the business opportunities P2P can generate." An article on CNet points out that the wording of the bill would make it apply to just about everything related to communications on the internet.

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168 comments

1 2 3 4! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27846737)

im a big /. whore!

5 6 7 8 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27846865)

my first post is much too late!

9 10 11 12 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27847217)

this law can go to hell....ve

13 14 15 16 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27849219)

i think i'll go eat a sandwich....ixteen!

It's True (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27846745)

Recently a company that monitors peer-to-peer networks said it found classified information about the systems used on board the president's helicopter in a shared folder on a computer in Iran, after a file containing the data was accidentally leaked on a peer-to-peer network last summer.

It's true, I saw these files and it appears our nation's most important secrets have been released to one of our most dangerous enemies. They are a move-by-move account of every Freecell game played by Obama. From that, the Iranians have been able to extrapolate his strategy for the Iraq theater and predict his every move, ergo, peer to peer file sharing must be stopped.

Reading this story kind of makes me want to draw up a huge exploded view diagram [wikimedia.org] of Marine One [wikipedia.org] with Hello Kitty on a treadmill in the middle of the cabin powering the main rotor ... and then seed it as top secret documents on Bittorrent.

Re:It's True (1)

MaNtErOlA (1170641) | more than 5 years ago | (#27846933)

Last month I watched in the TV news a story about the "Evil" p2p networks because thousands of tax declarations with relevant private information can be found in the ed2k network. That is stupid, how can you educate people not to share their entire HDD? The same happened years ago with open wifi networks. This is the eternal problem of politicians that try to face new technologies with secrecy and fear.

Re:It's True (2, Interesting)

B'Trey (111263) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847291)

The CNN article commenting on the proposed bill says:

Another example: Web browsers could also be regulated and subject to Federal Trade Commission enforcement action unless "informed consent" is obtained each time the desktop icon is double-clicked. (Every Web browser allows the user to "designate" files to be uploaded--ever post a photo?--and request that files be downloaded.)

This appears to be covering things like uploading a photo or downloading a program to install. That doesn't even cover the half of it. What happens when you visit a web page? Your browser sends a GET request and downloads the file - it copies a file from the server to your computer. If the page is not static, of course, the file is generated on the fly by scripts. But if that isn't covered, then I'll simply code my P2P app to ROT13 all files. When you download it, a script reads it and generates the stream that's transferred to you. I'm no longer copying a file, so the law doesn't apply to me.

What happens when you visit many, many websites? They read your cookies. The cookie is a file on your computer. It's transferred from your computer to their server. What happens when you download your email, particularly if you're accessing a 'Nix based mail server where mail is stored in mbox or mailbox format? What happens when you open a file with your Word processor on a remote share? In short, what happens almost any time you do anything on a networked computer? Is every application you run going to have to nag you to death every time you open it?

This is so ludicrous that not even Congress could pass it.

Re:It's True (2, Interesting)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847429)

And it absolutely does not matter that it is ludicrous. Because the person who gains from this will not care for all the things you mention. It could even be the very point of installing that system.

Never think you politicians were stupid, when someone can obviously gain something from in. ^^

Re:It's True (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848097)

That AND they are stupid.

Re:It's True (4, Funny)

mrops (927562) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847967)

This is so ludicrous that not even Congress could pass it.

I think you are putting way too much trust in Congress.

Re:It's True (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27847625)

You know whats funny about the whole situation is if they didn't want them on the internet they wouldn't make it there if they had a good security team in place.

YAY! (3, Insightful)

reidiq (1434945) | more than 5 years ago | (#27846751)

More government control over our lives!!!!!

Elections have consequences (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27847479)

The Slashdot crowd doesn't seem so happy about Obama now.

As if that "D" after his name WASN'T A BIG, FAT, FUCKING CLUE THAT HE LIKES BIG, OVERWEENING GOVERNMENT CONTROLLING EVERY DAMN ASPECT OF YOUR LIFE.

As if forcing out GM's CEO, forcing Chrysler into bankruptcy, or refusing to allow banks who don't want the government to control them to return their TARP money, wasn't enough to clue you in, DEMOCRATS always are so damn quick to MAKE YOU DO WHAT THEY THINK IS GOOD FOR YOU.

In the meantime, they funnel all kinds of money to, say, companies owned by Dianne Fienstien's husband or John Murtha's brother.

Given all THAT, and that millions of medical records in Virginia were recently compromised, HOW ARE YOU FEELING ABOUT PUTTING THAT GOVERNMENT IN CONTROL OF HEALTH CARE NOW?

Re:Elections have consequences (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27847809)

Who says everyone here was happy with the prospect of a Democrat in power? Really D/R are two sides of the same coin, just brands the NWO sells us to make us think we have a say.

While we sat around fat and happy, international socialists have subverted governments around the world and sadly now the US will fall to the same.

Re:Elections have consequences (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27847831)

I am so glad I live in Canada even though the US tries to pressure us to do it the way they see is right. I HOPE WE DON'T FALL TO THE PRESSURE. If you do their maybe a coup in Canada.

Re:Elections have consequences (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27849013)

Uh, the actual *DIFFERENCE* is that even those of us who wanted, supported and voted for Obama are openly critical of some of his policies.

As opposed to the right-wing nut jobs that felt like Bush could do no wrong at anything.

It's called 'big tent' politics, people with varying degrees of agreement on issues, but general agreement overall.

Look how well that 'small tent' purity jihad is working for the GOP...

Time to get (overly?) skeptical... (5, Insightful)

VinylRecords (1292374) | more than 5 years ago | (#27846773)

Recently a company that monitors peer-to-peer networks said it found classified information about the systems used onboard the president's helicopter in a shared folder on a computer in Iran, after a file containing the data was accidentally leaked on a peer-to-peer network last summer. Meanwhile the DCIA said any laws would likely be ineffective and stifle the business opportunities P2P can generate."

How do we know that this government employee didn't purposefully 'leak' the documents online or plant them at an Iranian I.P. address so that the government could have an excuse to pass an archaic and oppressive internet law?

An article on CNet points out that the wording of the bill would make it apply to just about everything related to communications on the internet.

One person, a government worker, leaks a document, and now we must all pay.

If a government worker drunk drives should we all lose our licenses and cars?

Re:Time to get (overly?) skeptical... (5, Insightful)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847025)

One person, a government worker, leaks a document, and now we must all pay.

If a government worker drunk drives should we all lose our licenses and cars?

The annoying thing is by making those documents available on p2p, the worker was already breaking countless laws and regulations. There are existing protections in place for this type of thing but rather than rely on the fact that he could be fined/fired/arrested/barred from future government work and if he was a contractor his company was also fined/penalized against future contract bids, the solution is to make yet another law standing in the way of legitimate use of p2p.

Re:Time to get (overly?) skeptical... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27847895)

I'd like also to add that p2p doesn't really exists. Almost every communication on the internet is from one peer to another, as multicast/broadcast was ditched for mass communication on internet. Every definition of peer to peer will also include each other kind of internet services, creating a defacto legislative regulation about routing.

Re:Time to get (overly?) skeptical... (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847041)

Yes... it does seem rather odd that such an important document would be "accidentally" torrented... I mean really if it was that important it should have been encrypted and mounted on its own partition or at the least not anywhere near other files.. I mean honestly how do you accidentally torrent such a critical file?

Re:Time to get (overly?) skeptical... (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847221)

Usually these leaks occur over a Gnutella-like network, not BitTorrent. Misconfiguration with low-quality software or malicious P2P software is the problem.

I mean, is the problem, not including the fact that proper data security practices weren't in place.

Re:Time to get (overly?) skeptical... (5, Insightful)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847287)

The leaking of a government file is only the excuse. The real goal is to eliminate ignorance by the user of what the software does for purposes of prosecution of the user for sharing copyrighted works.

I.e. this is meant to inform all users of P2P software of their overt actions in making available files so that the RIAA has a stronger case.

Re:Time to get (overly?) skeptical... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27847049)

Why? Rep Bill Janklow didn't, did he?

Re:Time to get (overly?) skeptical... (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847467)

There's nothing "archaic" about it.. this is the future.

Re:Time to get (overly?) skeptical... (1)

maudin8 (1532265) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847609)

If anything was "leaked", it is the person who committed treason, not the tool he used. This is just an excuse to regulate P2P technology. If he used a church pidgeon currier system(goofy example), would we ban/regulate that? No, because the powers that be have no interest in that.

Re:Time to get (overly?) skeptical... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27848277)

That's how they gain power, creating a problem so they can be the solution.

Re:Time to get (overly?) skeptical... (1)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848483)

It is the very nature of governmental secrecy to expand, reach out and try to control absolutely everything, everywhere at all times.
            The solution is to allow far less secrecy in government. After all, we pay for all of the information that government possesses. That is to say that we own it but are disallowed from knowing what it is.

Re:Time to get (overly?) skeptical... (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848585)

Well, if the drunk driver hit the president's motorcade, they might try to ban alcohol again.

Why does it seem (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27846785)

That under the old admin everybody was screaming in fear about 1984... And now with the new admin... it still feels the same

Re:Why does it seem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27847973)

As per an earlier comment, it feels the same because the Democrats and Republicans are two sides of the same coin. They're just brands the NWO sells us to make us think we have a say in the running of our country.

While we've sat around fat and happy, international socialists have subverted governments around the world and sadly now the US is falling to the same.

Re:Why does it seem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27848073)

This is why [tinypic.com]

Re:Why does it seem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27848637)

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss..........

ZOMG!!! (2, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#27846815)

Those Iranians, Arabs, and Terrorists use P2P networks! Lets regulate or ban them. ZOMG, they use television too. Lets ban TV networks. Oh noes, they use cars and roads too... Well, walking is good for you. Damn, they use elections too. We don't want to be like 'them' so no more elections. How much more ignorant are reporters and politicians going to get?

Oh no, they use television to broadcast government propaganda. No more .... wait, they copied that from us, so that's ok.

I'm waiting for the first idiot legislator to suggest that foreign governments and terrorists are using Linux so it too must be banned.

Re:ZOMG!!! (3, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27846965)

ZOMG, they use television too.

It's true. Both sides use CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, Al Jazeera, etc heavily. And yet there is no new laws proposed to regulate CNN. Probably because it's less anonymous but also because it's considered "the press" and the phrase "government regulating the press" in America is worse than insulting your favorite sports team.

You know, it would be an interesting strategy to turn the bittorrent protocol into a means of disseminating news and blogs as well as large files. I mean they're just smaller files but could have huge legal implications for regulations of it. It would be nice to see (and make sense bandwidth wise) CNN distributing their video content with embedded advertisements in torrents. How popular would they be? I'm not sure. But it would give P2P advocates a case to cry foul when the government tries to regulate the software & protocol.

I guess "Now I can't share DVDs" just doesn't sound as patriotic as "The government is controlling and censoring a new press outlet and must be stopped."

Re:ZOMG!!! (2, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847335)

I propose new laws to regulate Fox all of the time.

Re:ZOMG!!! (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 5 years ago | (#27849357)

Then you are far more un-American than the tools at Fox, which is quite an impressive feat.

"I disagree with what you have to say but will fight to the death to protect your right to say it."

Ban Element 8! (5, Insightful)

number6x (626555) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847355)

<sarcasm>

It is a well established scientific fact that 100% of terrorists use a readily available, totally unregulated oxidizing agent to maintain their very existence here on God's green Earth!

This extremely destructive agent has been used in nuclear missile propulsion systems, high explosive devices, and is a leading cause of infrastructure collapse!

Known as 'Element 8' This substance must be banned! Our wise and benevolent leaders have been combining Element 8 with simple carbon atoms in order to render it harmless and reduce its availability to the terrorists. These valiant efforts are opposed by environmental activists who are merely duped by our socialist enemies!

Write to your Congressman and Senator today and have them join the fight to ban 'Element 8', before it is used to destroy us all!

</sarcasm>

Re:Ban Element 8! (4, Funny)

The Grim Reefer2 (1195989) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847533)

It sounds a lot like Dihydrogen Monoxide.

The Invisible Killer

Dihydrogen monoxide is colorless, odorless, tasteless, and kills uncounted thousands of people every year. Most of these deaths are caused by accidental inhalation of DHMO, but the dangers of dihydrogen monoxide do not end there. Prolonged exposure to its solid form causes severe tissue damage. Symptoms of DHMO ingestion can include excessive sweating and urination, and possibly a bloated feeling, nausea, vomiting and body electrolyte imbalance. For those who have become dependent, DHMO withdrawal means certain death.

Dihydrogen monoxide:

        * is also known as hydroxyl acid, and is the major component of acid rain.
        * contributes to the "greenhouse effect."
        * may cause severe burns.
        * contributes to the erosion of our natural landscape.
        * accelerates corrosion and rusting of many metals.
        * may cause electrical failures and decreased effectiveness of automobile brakes.
        * has been found in excised tumors of terminal cancer patients.

Contamination Is Reaching Epidemic Proportions!

Quantities of dihydrogen monoxide have been found in almost every stream, lake, and reservoir in America today. But the pollution is global, and the contaminant has even been found in Antarctic ice. DHMO has caused millions of dollars of property damage in the midwest, and recently California.

Despite the danger, dihydrogen monoxide is often used:

        * as an industrial solvent and coolant.
        * in nuclear power plants.
        * in the production of styrofoam.
        * as a fire retardant.
        * in many forms of cruel animal research.
        * in the distribution of pesticides. Even after washing, produce remains contaminated by this chemical.
        * as an additive in certain "junk-foods" and other food products.

Companies dump waste DHMO into rivers and the ocean, and nothing can be done to stop them because this practice is still legal. The impact on wildlife is extreme, and we cannot afford to ignore it any longer!

The Horror Must Be Stopped!

The American government has refused to ban the production, distribution, or use of this damaging chemical due to its "importance to the economic health of this nation." In fact, the navy and other military organizations are conducting experiments with DHMO, and designing multi-billion dollar devices to control and utilize it during warfare situations. Hundreds of military research facilities receive tons of it through a highly sophisticated underground distribution network. Many store large quantities for later use.

Re:Ban Element 8! (2, Funny)

Nyvhek (999064) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847923)

Yeah, that's what happens when you accidentally combine Element 8 with hydrogen instead of carbon.

Re:Ban Element 8! (0, Redundant)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848059)

That sounds almost as dangerous as dihydrogen monoxide.

Re:Ban Element 8! (1)

number6x (626555) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848347)

Element 8 is used to make dihydrogen monoxide!

DHMO is another way that Element 8 kills innocent people everyday.

Re:Ban Element 8! (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848773)

Yeah, I heard it's made out of Element 8 as well as a highly explosive chemical used in H-bombs.

Re:Ban Element 8! (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848137)

Meh, DHMO still kills more people per year and they put it in your food.

Re:Ban Element 8! (1)

number6x (626555) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848423)

DHMO contains Element 8! Every DHMO caused death is an Element 8 caused death.

Element 8, on its own, can kill in many ways that DHMO cannot!

m0d d03n (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27846873)

frist po$t

Cue all the (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27846909)

in Soviet America jokes...

P2P is not the problem. (4, Insightful)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 5 years ago | (#27846955)

It doesn't help the P2P cause that the technology continues to pop up in bad practices.

It's people, not software that are the problem. Software is a tool and is neither good or bad. The people using it on the other hand...

Not to start anything, but this is why I am generally amused by the term "Computer Ethics". Computers are simply a tool; there might as well be something called "Blender Ethics". The real issue is simply "Ethics", which I fear some are lacking.

Re:P2P is not the problem. (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847099)

Nope, IP is the problem. No network, no sharing across them.

All kidding aside, "ethics" ( and morals ) are relative.

Re:P2P is not the problem. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847391)

There are blender ethics.

Don't shove someone hand into one. Don't thrust the exposed spinning blades at people.

For a violation of some blender ethics, see the movie 'Goonies'

Re:P2P is not the problem. (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848813)

For a violation of some blender ethics, see the movie 'Goonies'

Or Fargo. 'Cause a wood chipper is just a really big blender.

Re:P2P is not the problem. (2, Insightful)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847459)

The real issue is simply "Ethics", which I fear some are lacking.

It does reveal (in some aspects) the childishness of our society. We have to be so explicit in the "dos and don'ts" and aren't left to our own to think what our actions might really entail. We are left with a "Four legs good, Two legs bad" impression of our world without the understanding of what that really means.

I would try education before legislation.

Re:P2P is not the problem. (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847729)

A class called Bender Ethics would be hilarious.

Re:P2P is not the problem. (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848873)

Reply one: Especially since Bender would fail that class.

Reply two: Especially since Bender would be a terrible teacher for an ethics class.

Re:P2P is not the problem. (1)

herring0 (1286926) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848231)

I find it incredibly amusing that just reading this made me think this was a post about gun control.

Though I guess when you boil it all down legislation on *-control comes to the same basic arguments. Most especially when whatever they are trying to control is a tool of any type.

I have to wonder why they persist in passing laws that are trying to create some kind of artificial moral framework. The examples to look to in both government and leaders of industry are largely so corrupt one has a hard time recognizing sincerity and honesty instead of simply dismissing them as a sycophant.

Dollar short and a Day late (1)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847013)

The cat is out of the bag so to speak. There isn't any going back now. People have realized the usefulness of P2P - and no piece of legislation anywhere is going to prevent its use. Worst case scenario - rewrite some protocols to encrypt data and make it look like normal traffic. Instead of writing dumb legislation how about a proactive approach (sorry for the management speak). How about some sort of coherent plan for how to deal with emerging technology in a way that makes sense?

Re:Dollar short and a Day late (1)

Aram Fingal (576822) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847597)

Worst case scenario - rewrite some protocols to encrypt data and make it look like normal traffic.

You mean, more or less, what Freenet [freenetproject.org] does.

The problem and solution as they see it... (1)

skynexus (778600) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847043)

Problem: classified information leaks to general public.
Solution: regulate the general public.

So if you loose track of your private information, just start a couple of those botnets to monitor the internets... never fails...

Re:The problem and solution as they see it... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27847939)

So if you loose track of your private information, just start a couple of those botnets to monitor the internets... never fails...

Lose god damn it. Lose.

English mother-fucker! Do you speak it?!?

Distributed Computing Industry Association (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847075)

This is a joke, right? We don't need yet another association.

The typical outcome of regulation is (2, Insightful)

Phizzle (1109923) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847079)

the punishment of those who obey the laws and prosperity of those who do not.

Intent good, impossible to legislate (2, Interesting)

frith01 (1118539) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847089)

FTFA ::

# warnings to application users and notices about the number and types of files being shared;
# default settings that limit what is shared upon installation of an application; controls for users to
# stop sharing any file or folder; protections against any user attempt to share sensitive folders or
# file types; and simple means to disable the file-sharing functionality

As always, our good intending congress critters will not understand the over-reaching ramifications of trying to make an application behave legally. It makes good theater for the masses, and a whip to use against any software that is not paying to the "re-election" pac.

The only guidelines that need to be implemented in any secure workplace are to not run filesharing apps on ANY end-user computer. ( torrents, etc. should be done on a machine reserved for that purpose.)

Re:Intent good, impossible to legislate (1)

gclef (96311) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847511)

I disagree...the only p2p apps running should be *approved* ones. I realize that's splitting hairs, but the distinction is an important one. For example, I thought the Groove application from a couple years ago was a great idea & a good business use of p2p. That's the sort of thing that I could see being an approved p2p app. BearShare? not so much.

Re:Intent good, impossible to legislate (2, Insightful)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 5 years ago | (#27849459)

Who decides what "p2p apps" to ban and which to approve? Furthermore, what criteria do they judge them on?

There is increasingly a separation between the actual applications (the clients), and the protocol itself, case in point: there are dozens of bittorrent clients. Do only sleazy malware clients get banned, or do entire protocols? What exactly makes a protocol "bad"? Why should anyone be in the business of telling me what sort of software I can write and run myself?

Net Neutrality in action (1)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847129)

If you had any doubts about the unintended consequences of net neutrality regulation, this should help clarify it for you. The same folks who would be "handed the keys to the Internet" to enforce net neutrality will be the ones regulating shit like this. Rather than get the government involved, we should maintain individual responsibility by boycotting ISPs with bad practices and draconian ToS.

Re:Net Neutrality in action (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27847309)

You Sir, are an idiot!

Re:Net Neutrality in action (1)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847393)

Ad hominem, try again.

Re:Net Neutrality in action (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847409)

as usually, people saying that missing the practical picture; which is ALL THE ISPs will institute the same crap so you won' have a choice.

This is why net neutrality must be maintained.

Re:Net Neutrality in action (1)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848741)

as usually, people saying that missing the practical picture; which is ALL THE ISPs will institute the same crap so you won' have a choice.

And drive away all their customers? How would they stay in business?

Given that people don't have a right to internet access, neither we nor the government can force them to do anything against their will, even if they make stupid decisions. They should be permitted to succeed or fail by their own actions.

This is why net neutrality must be maintained.

Then you're begging for the government to violate all your other rights. If you want people to respect your rights to free speech, liberty, property, etc, you have to respect everyone else's rights to those same freedoms. You would like to have your cake and eat it too.

Overreact much? (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847149)

I'm all for using P2P and bashing the US government like the next guy, but all this bill says is:
* Software that is capable of both sharing and downloading files (that is, indicating available files to others, sending those files to others, and recieving files from others) must inform you of this fact upon installation (include it in the EULA).
* Prior to sharing files (parts 1 and 2 above), the software must inform the user of what files are to be shared and recieve their consent.
* You must be able to uninstall and otherwise disable the software.

Any P2P client a sane person would use is no more than a popup and an EULA edit (or an initial popup, for software sans EULA) from already doing this. Web browsers don't qualify (they don't list available files for transmission); nor do FTP clients. FTP and Web servers, which usually start without user interaction, might be an odd situation. They'd have a hard case to make that Apache maliciously configured itself without your consent, though.

Re:Overreact much? (1)

RemyBR (1158435) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847547)

Web browsers don't qualify (they don't list available files for transmission);

How do you call it when you are going to upload a picture to your photolog or site of preference, and the browser lists the files on your HD for your to transmit? And once uploades, those files are being shared with anyone who visits said site.

Re:Overreact much? (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 5 years ago | (#27849391)

Poor wording on my part -- they do not, by my reading, "... designate files available for transmission to another computer". In order to meet this criterion, what files are available for transmission would need to be stored persistently (e.g., a stored configuration -- not necessarily on disk, but not simply a per-transaction basis).

On the other hand, note that when a Web browser asks what file you want to send, it is informing you that you will be sending a file, indicating which file will be send, and obtaining your consent before sending it.

It's no accident that all reasonably-designed pieces of software at least meet the spirit of this proposed bill. While they may have something clever and sinister in mind, the surface intent is to protect the consumer from software that silently shares data on your system without your consent (which, sadly, exists and is used).

Re:Overreact much? (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848837)

WOuld this outlaw Freenet? Or would you only have to inform the user about *that user's* files being shared, not other traffic through the node?

They'd have a hard case to make that Apache maliciously configured itself without your consent, though.

Sendmail, OTOH ...

After Looking at the CNET article (5, Informative)

robkill (259732) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847187)

Bill is sponsored by Rep. Mary Bono. Big surprise. She was behind the 1998 Sunny Bono Copyright Extension Act and has worked very closely with the RIAA and MPAA in the past.

From the CNET article:

Bono's Informed P2P User Act says that it will be "unlawful" for P2P software to cause files to be made available unless two rules are followed. First, the utility's installation process must provide "clear and conspicuous notice" of its features and obtain the user's "informed consent." Second, the program must step through that notice-and-consent process every time it runs.

In other words: a "This gun shoots bullets, which may be lethal." notice every time the program is used, made further annoying by a list of all files that would be shared.

Should a user have a way of finding out exactly what the software they are using is doing, and an easy way to configure it correctly? Absolutely. Should it provide a way for me to view the configuration and what it will share? Hopefully, and I'd look for software that does. Does that mean all software should be dumbed down, and force me to go through such a notice every time I use it? Absolutely not. Of course the end result will be no different than what users currently do with EULA notices during software installation.

All in all a law requireing a bad and onerous implementation of what a good program should do anyway, and potentially the thin end of a wedge to add more restrictions to P2P software. The law could be used to go after some forms of spyware, but I'd much rather see a law carefully crafted for that purpose.

Re:After Looking at the CNET article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27847313)

Don't be suprised to find big money behind this.
MPAA, RIAA and their likes are going to be rewriting copyright and buying as many laws as possible while the O-man is in office.

Culture of Corruption = Washington D.C.

Re:After Looking at the CNET article (2, Insightful)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847541)

Hey, someone who actually read an article and figured out it's (a) not much of a regulation and (b) about software, not networks.

Whether or not you need to be warned each time depends on the interpretation of "initial activation" in "immediately prior to initial activation of a file sharing function of such program..."

Otherwise, yes. For already-sane P2P clients, this adds minor annoyance, and nothing else. It does, as someone pointed out, seriously injure the "I didn't know I was sharing it" defense for child pornography and copyright infringement.

Re:After Looking at the CNET article (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 5 years ago | (#27849003)

What about networks like Freenet that route traffic through all nodes? The user provably cannot know the files he is sharing, and that's a key feature of Freenet.

Re:After Looking at the CNET article (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 5 years ago | (#27849313)

Spirit of the law suggests that what they actually want the application to tell you is which of your files (i.e., those not wholly mangaged by the application) are available to others. It would probably be wise to include in the "this is a P2P application" notice mention of the fact that Freenet is using you to store and transmit unidentifiable data from other peers.

As far as the letter of the law goes, I don't think it was written realizing systems like Freenet. You could probably get away with being pedantic and warning the user that you're sharing "1327 blocks of unidentifiable data from the Freenet network". Law doesn't require that you identify the contents of those files, only what files they are.

The technology is irrelevant (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847207)

You don't make content regulations based on the medium, but on the content.

If you spread information you have no legal right to spread using peer-to-peer, email, web site, private courier, or by shouting it from the mountaintop, it shouldn't matter. The action against you is for distributing information you had no right to distribute, not for using a particular technology to do so.

The only reason medium matters is some media, such as a private courier that doesn't cross state lines, may not be subject to federal law, but state law.

bah (1)

Thaelon (250687) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847241)

Assuming this is true:

Recently a company that monitors peer-to-peer networks said it found classified information about the systems used onboard the president's helicopter in a shared folder on a computer in Iran, after a file containing the data was accidentally leaked on a peer-to-peer network last summer.

This is a problem for the person or persons responsible for leaking that file and has nothing to do with peer to peer networks.

Not the fault of P2P per se (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847275)

Any security breaches are not the fault of P2P per se. Why was there a computer with classified documents where the user was allowed to install software and connect directly to the Internet? The user could have installed Apache and made the entire hard drive accessible through HTTP at that point.

Ultimately the entire Internet is peer-to-peer. All these "P2P" applications do is make it easier for the peers to find each other.

Re:Not the fault of P2P per se (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847697)

Ultimately the entire Internet is peer-to-peer.

For a peer-to-peer system, it has a lot of heirarchical order.

Of course, this bill actually targets peer-to-peer file sharing software, not some vague notion of "P2P applications". It even mentions one of the critical functions that a P2P file sharing application performs -- making files on your computer available for transmission to other Internet hosts. A P2P network (a) organizes peers using the same application and (b) indicates available (shared) files to other peers. The appearance of (b) varies a lot, but it's the general purpose of a P2P application.

Re:Not the fault of P2P per se (2, Informative)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847857)

For a peer-to-peer system, it has a lot of heirarchical order.

In what way? Maybe DNS has some hierarchy to it, but ultimately the internet is peer-to-peer. It's certainly not a broadcast network.

The FTP servers on the Internet constitute P2P file sharing. Same with web servers. You can install apache on your computer and I can install it on mine, and then we be peers who have access to share each others' files. Google's search engine is the tool that most of us use to indicate what files are available, as well as to find them-- but really, Google is just another peer on the network.

But now, watch out, if you use a protocol other than HTTP and a search engine that's not Google (and maybe decentralized), suddenly you're everyone assumes you're doing something illegal. They want to make peer-to-peer communications illegal, but they're failing to understand that there's no meaningful technical distinction between that "suspicious P2P file sharing" and "normal legitimate Internet traffic."

Re:Not the fault of P2P per se (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 5 years ago | (#27849245)

The physical structure is very much a strongly-organized hierarchy. It doesn't have to be, but it is. DNS has a very strong hierarchy.

Google indexing files is at a different level than peer-to-peer communications. That a Web server is a "P2P application" is murky, but an FTP server probably is by this definition. It certainly has a set of files that are made available (and this set of files is available to others on the network) and others on the network can request these files. However, it's not clear in the other direction. As written, the FTP server would need to request uploads from a client. This isn't the case; uploads are client-initiated and accepted by the server.

They're not trying to make peer-to-peer communication illegal at all. They're trying to make it illegal (for some sense of illegal) to create and distribute software that that is deceptive about what files it is making available on the network. You need to appreciate the difference between a regulation on communications and a regulation on software. (For one, the jurisdictional implications are important.)

Re:Not the fault of P2P per se (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848615)

It's similar to officials targeting Craigslist for facilitating prostitution and murder because some guy was targeting "massage therapists" who advertised there. Such distorted logic shows up when a reason needs to be invented to justify a desired result.

This is not a problem! (1)

djshaffer (595950) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847345)

From the act:

SEC. 4. DEFINITIONS.

            As used in this Act--

                        (1) the term `protected computer' has the meaning given such term in section 1030(e)(2) of title 18, United States Code; and

                        (2) the term `peer-to-peer file sharing program' means computer software that allows the computer on which such software is installed--

                                    (A) to designate files available for transmission to another computer;

                                    (B) to transmit files directly to another computer; and

                                    (C) to request the transmission of files from another computer.

Since nearly everyone using a P2P program does not "transmit files directly to another computer" this law has very limited application. Those internet routers have saved us!

Information is nothing (1)

Phiu-x (513322) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847347)

Its what you do with it that is important.The problem is not about the access of this information, but in what can be done to prevent someone to do something with this information. Thus the problem does not lie in P2P.Or any mode of data transportation for that matter. "Lets kill all pigeon since this network can be used to carry *Gasp* dangerous infos!"

Well, it *was supposed to spark anonymity (1)

Provocateur (133110) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847407)

but I guess animosity is close enough...

Helicopter Problems (1)

Tokolosh (1256448) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847415)

The solution is simple - take away the president's helicopter and do away with royalty.

This just goes to show (1)

C_Kode (102755) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847425)

This just goes to show you that these guys have absolutely no idea what they are actually talking about. To say we are going to make law about P2P file sharing is like saying, I'm going to make a law that says you can travel from point A to point B, but not in a three wheeled car. Only four wheeled cars. So, I can't use bit-torrent's protocol, so I will just create a similar one and call it something else and use it until you decide to include it in your law also. (a three wheeled car with a training wheel)

I'm sure they will just try to create an very broad law, but then they are really going to have issues actually applying the law since so many protocols already exist and are used in a myriad of ways. Also new protocols come out and they have to be applied and people will just find other ways round it. They will spend hundreds of millions of dollars trying to police / patch a flawed law.

Re:This just goes to show (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847871)

I can't use bit-torrent's protocol, so I will just create a similar one and call it something else

Fail. You obviously didn't read the legislation because your "similar one" would still fall under the definition P2P software and thus the law.

Let me have it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27847437)

Let em have the old P2P, torrents,etc, we'll just invent a new one they can't regulate! When Kazaa went down, it obviously made a certain Mr B. Cohen think!

Or maybe... (1)

webheaded (997188) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847557)

Just maybe, mind you, they should just teach their employees how a computer works. I imagine that would help a great deal more. Why don't we stop babying everyone and if we REALLY want to do something, teach them how to use the software that they've got in a way that they don't have it scan their entire computer for everything all the time.

I simply cannot fathom this kind of stupidity. Don't tell your P2P software to scan places with sensitive things in it and don't put those sensitive things in your shared folders. You don't see me putting a text file with my credit card numbers in my share folder so why would anyone put anything sensitive anywhere near their shared files? I guess I'll just never be able to completely understand things from the perspective of someone that not only knows nothing about computers but does not actually care to learn. It's beyond my comprehension. Even if you knew nothing...wouldn't you at least be curious to know what the hell your programs are doing?

Nothing to worry about (1)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847691)

This is yet another piece of misguided legislation authored by politicians who do not have the necessary grasp of the technical issues they're addressing or of the full scope of the ramifications of their proposed bill. Furthermore it's a knee-jerk reaction, and it's being reported in such a way as to foster panic and outrage. What, we're all done with Swine Flu, we've got to have something else to panic everyone over? Really, what is it they're trying to distract us all from, anyway? Enough, already. This proposal isn't going to see the light of day, and if it somehow does, it won't be enforceable nor will it stay in effect for long. Nothing to see here, move along, move along..

What's interesting... (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847763)

Is not so much that somebody had made a copy of a file containing Presidential Helicopter blueprints, but, that, somehow, we found these blueprints on a server in Iran. Seems to me that we give as good as we get, at least on this one.

Doesn't look so bad to me. (1)

Aram Fingal (576822) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847765)

The law is specifically against uploading files without informing the authorized user of the computer. I don't think that's such a bad thing nor is it a bad thing that it applies to all internet communications. It helps to clear up some situations where spyware would otherwise be in a legal grey area. It's also interesting to note that the legislation, as quoted on C-Net, does not make any specific exception for law enforcement to get files from a computer without the user's knowledge. I suppose that's covered by other laws.

Control (1)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847841)

The issue is control. TCP/IP **IS**, by it's very design and essence peer-to-peer.

It was developped by univertities for military use, and eventually released to the great unwashed masses(TM).

Boy do the powers that are must regret that decision! The genie cannot be put back in the bottle...

The pitiful restraints some ISPs try to impose ("no servers, no this, no that") are a reflection of the big power's fears when the people is allowed to express itself just like the big and powerful.

Right now in France, they are trying nothing less than institute a compulsory monitoring program where the State would have access to all you do on the internet.

Laws are being proposed to equate blogs with weapons of psychological destruction, no doubt with an eventual eye to suppress what annoys the powerful.

Different from WikiLeaks? (1)

YesDinosaursDidExist (1268920) | more than 5 years ago | (#27847907)

if the law passes whats to stop WikiLeaks from facing further scrutiny? Its not that hard to NOT share a folder on your computer, how is regulating the "P2P" as a whole going to solve anything?

How do they know ... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848153)

... whether that beige box under my desk is a client, server, or a peer?

For "peer-to-peer" to have any meaning in law or regulation, some definition of "server" is going to have to be written. It isn't going to be based on protocols or open listening TCP/IP ports. Practically every system I own has processes listening on various ports (Apache, sshd, etc.). So, we're going to need some legal distinction. Are "they" (whomever the infamous "they" is) going to make me apply for a server license? Not very likely, IMHO.

This appears to be 1) an attempt to solve a problem by people who have absolutely no idea how the technology that their proposed regulations targets actually works, or 2) an attempt on behalf of "the industry" to force everyone to work through their $erver$ for the purpose of revenue generation.

Real problem, wrong solution (1)

bill_kress (99356) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848295)

Of course government computers with classified information should NOT BE RUNNING ANY SOFTWARE THAT IS NOT COMPLETELY UNDERSTOOD AND PROPERLY CONFIGURED.

Also, of course, it sucks that a p-p network in Iran is hosting secret information.

How does passing a law regarding p-p in the US have any effect on these problems?

The Internet is the P2P system (3, Insightful)

presidenteloco (659168) | more than 5 years ago | (#27848777)

Please remember that the architecture of the Internet makes it the world's first P2P system; albeit with a lousy user interface.

All regulation of P2P systems and what you can do with them or not logically must apply to the Internet as a whole, because there is
no fundamental functional difference between a fancy P2P system and the raw Internet.

This is why all legislation targeted specifically at P2P systems is both misguided and extremely dangerous to the future of the net as a whole.

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