×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

House Committee Passes "Informed P2P User Act"

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the is-this-really-the-most-pressing-issue dept.

Government 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."'"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

235 comments

Why P2P (5, Insightful)

AnotherBlackHat (265897) | more than 4 years ago | (#29618707)

Why is this limited to P2P software?

Mod parent up (1, Interesting)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#29618741)

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

Re:Mod parent up (2, Informative)

ajs (35943) | more than 4 years ago | (#29618941)

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

Spyware violates electronic privacy laws that already exist.

Re:Mod parent up (2, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619035)

So is spyware is already "banned" by privacy laws, why do we need this separate P2P legislation? Sorry I can't help being skeptical. The Patriot Act included things nobody knew about, and discovered later after passage, and I'm wondering if this P2P bill has similar "gotchas" hidden inside of it. Like:

- "We caught you P2Ping the latest Linux distro. Per U.S. law we are required to suspend your account until you agree not to use P2P." - MSN

Re:Mod parent up (2, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619281)

Notice that this didn't ONLY ban spyware. It had stipulations that state that when a P2P app is installed it clearly indicates what is being shared. This will just prevent Joe Sixpack from installed AwesomeShareItAll v3.1 where it just shares out your entire hard drive without indicating it.

Personally, I just don't see too much evil in this bill.

Re:Mod parent up (0, Troll)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619475)

Yeah but it will also stop us from using FreeNet and other censorship-resistant, anonymous sharing networks. Read more here:
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anonymous_P2P [wikipedia.org] (generalized description)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropy_(anonymous_data_store) [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNUnet [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I2P [wikipedia.org]

Maybe this act should be called U.S.A. P.A.T.R.I.O.T. A.C.T. - An addendum to stop domestic terrorists* via outlawing anonymous internet usage.

*
* somebody who has a copy of the Constitution or a colonial flag hanging in his garage - see http://www.pa-aware.org/who-are-terrorists/domestic-5.asp [pa-aware.org]

Re:Mod parent up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29619695)

Commodore, I looked through the bill [house.gov] (all 7 pages of it, and half of which are definitions) and it doesn't make using these services illegal. From my reading, the only impact is software must give clear notifications to the user on what is being shared. It doesn't require identification of what computers you are sharing. So unless you can point to the exact language I'm misunderstanding in the bill, I don't think what you bring-up is really an issue.

Re:Mod parent up (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619327)

It really doesn't. In fact, it has such broad descriptions of what it does not cover, I'm not sure how this can really apply to anything other than Limewire:

Sec. 4.4.B
(B) does not include a program, application, or software designed primarily toâ"

          i. operate as a server that is accessible over the Internet using the Internet Domain Name system;
          ii. transmit or receive email messages, instant messaging, real-time audio or video communications, or real-time voice communications; or
          iii. provide network or computer securrity, network management, maintenance, diagnostics, technical support or repair, or to detect or prevent fraudulent activities.

While it does technically apply to torrenting Linux distro, someone could trivially code up a client designed for distribution of Linux binaries that would qualify as a maintenance tool, and probably also computer security, as well as technical support or repair without too much trouble.

And if someone happens to prepare a patch that enables general bittorrent...

However, it's not likely to be necessary - the bill basically only allows to programs that automatically start sharing shit on the internet. And I would be really impressed if someone managed to create a torrent by accident.

Re:Mod parent up (1)

DeadPixels (1391907) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619587)

While the intent seems to be noble (prevent data leaks/security breaches), the impression that I get from TFA is that this is applicable to all P2P software and not just the use of P2P software by the federal government - and that's where I have a problem with this.

First, it requires P2P software vendors to provide "clear and conspicuous" notice about the files being shared by the software and then obtain user consent for sharing them

While I see the thought process behind this - make sure the user knows what they're sharing - I can also put on my tinfoil hat and see how this could be problematic. Seems like it would make an **AA case like shooting fish in a barrel if they can prove that the user acknowledged that he or she was sharing a copyrighted file. Plus there's the whole anonymity thing.

I'd say the intent is good, but the way of going about it could be problematic, especially when the regulation applies to all P2P software and not just that used by the government.

Mod Parent Down (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619003)

People should not be modded up for not reading the article.

Re:Mod Parent Down (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619383)

What is this "article" you speak of? "reading?" What's the point of this thread? Where am I? Why aren't I wearing pants? Where is the porn?

Why am I being modded down rather than up?

Re:Why P2P (0, Troll)

Drunken Buddhist (467947) | more than 4 years ago | (#29618809)

Did someone forget to inform this senator that we (the US) no longer own the internets?

Re:Why P2P (5, Insightful)

kevinNCSU (1531307) | more than 4 years ago | (#29618893)

Did someone forget to inform this senator that we (the US) no longer own the internets?

Did someone forget to inform you that p2p software generally installs on a machine in a physical location and therefore is subject to the laws and regulations in that location? Just because your machine is able to talk to machines in a different country doesn't mean your machine is somehow above the laws of the country you live in.

Re:Why P2P (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29619273)

Yes, I believe it does.

Re:Why P2P (1, Informative)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619079)

@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:Why P2P (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29619255)

@interval1066

This is not twitter. This is slashdot. We have an intuitive reply system here, so when you hit the 'reply' key, it's unnecessary to start your post with a tag signifying who you are intending to speak to. It's already quite clear b/c of indentation. Please keep twitter syntax where it belongs (on twitter).

Re:Why P2P (1, Funny)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619473)

@AnonymousCoward This is not a text message. This is slashdot. We have an educated readership (and full QERTY or DVORAK keyboards) here, so when you type your message, it is unnecessary to use abbreviations for words, such as "b/c." Please keep Text Message English where it belongs (in text messages).

Re:Why P2P (5, Insightful)

ajs (35943) | more than 4 years ago | (#29618919)

Why is this limited to P2P software?

Because almost every other type of unintentional sharing of files (if not all) are already covered by electronic privacy laws.

However, in the case of applications which are designed to share files, there's a legal gray area, where the author can claim that they have no obligation to have disclosed which files were being shared, and that the user consented to sharing their files by installing file sharing software.

This bill would close that loophole.

Re:Why P2P (2, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619081)

And open a new one where the FBI (or RIAA investigators) can simply "ask" the program, "What files were shared?", get a convenient generated list, and find all the evidence they need to make your day in court miserable.

Re:Why P2P (4, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619187)

And open a new one where the FBI (or RIAA investigators) can simply "ask" the program, "What files were shared?", get a convenient generated list, and find all the evidence they need to make your day in court miserable.

And if my computer lies? Nobody said my computer has to be programmed to tell the truth.

Re:Why P2P (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619275)

It isn't obvious(though it seems that most anything could happen when it lands in the lap of some judge who can just about handle touch-tone phone era technology) that the program would need to keep a permanent list, or even a list of files at all.(or, rather, no more than simple technical necessity dictates today)

Already, most any P2P program will have a list of files to be shared, either explicit or "all files in directories X, Y, Z" stored in a config file so that the user doesn't have to reenter that information every time they start the program. Presumably, a program could comply simply by clearly displaying its default folder shares on first install, and ideally making the option to change them suitably clear. There is no information of law enforcement interest there that wasn't in the config file before, for simple technical reasons.

Re:Why P2P (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619529)

Those config files get erased over time. For example there's no remaining record that I downloaded Star Wars Episode 2 five years ago using Azureus, since both the movie and *.torrent were deleted..... but maybe this new law will require Azureus to keep that information indefinitely. "Ahhh I see this guy downloaded SW2 on 11/05/2004. Got him."

Re:Why P2P (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619669)

How is this different than having to give up a DNA sample when you are a suspect of a murder?

How about this... don't share files you have no legal right to share.

Re:Why P2P (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619663)

Because almost every other type of unintentional sharing of files (if not all) are already covered by electronic privacy laws.

Incorrect. The correct answer is "Because legislators are morons and follow zeitgeist instead of reason."

There are 2 ways to share files: P2P, and client-server. Those are technical terms. If this legislation says that it only applies to P2P, then it just flat-out won't work. Common examples: Backup software or remove diagnostics software.

Re:Why P2P (0, Troll)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#29618981)

The worst thing about reading the article is reading dumb ass posts like yours.

Strike that, the worst thing is people modding up dumb ass posts like your, you posting it is the second worse thing.

Spill the beans (4, Interesting)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#29618719)

Ok, so who funded this bill and why?

Re:Spill the beans (2, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#29618935)

I'd like to know why an "informed P2P users act" doesn't do anything to inform the downloader if the material is ok to download. There are literally hundreds of songs named Scatterbrain. Some are RIAA-label copyrighted, some are indie copyrighted and you have permission to share, some are GPL, and some have been put in the public domain. Of the three kinds of songs only one is illegal to share. So if I ask for "scatterbrain" and it returns five hundred instances of "scatterbrain.mp3", I should have the right to know which 3 out of 4 files is OK to download.

With me it's a moot point, as on the rare occasions I download a song it doesn't go into a shared folder, so it's not going to be re-shared, but if I use a torrent I really don't have this protection.

Technologically infeasable, you say? Then simple, make all noncommercial copying to be non-infringing. Make the record companies stop pretending to "sell" music and go back to selling physical objects: CDs with cover art and liner notes with a higher sound quality than MP3s.

Re:Spill the beans (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619521)

Make the record companies stop pretending to "sell" music and go back to selling physical objects: CDs with cover art and liner notes with a higher sound quality than MP3s.

They could do that now if they thought it was a viable business model. Maybe they don't because they are too heavily invested in the current model's infrastructure, I don't claim to know.

I do know that judging from the audio equipment you see dominating shelves, the masses aren't too picky about sound quality. Decent cover art and liner notes might be something worth returning to, but digital distributors will almost certainly be able to outdo them there (with the exception of providing a physical copy). It will be interesting to see how Apple LPs sell.

Re:Spill the beans (3, Insightful)

ajs (35943) | more than 4 years ago | (#29618965)

Ok, so who funded this bill and why?

Almost certainly groups like the RIAA and the MPAA.

Their goal is in ratchet up the personal liability of the users who use these systems. By forcing applications to be much more explicit about what's being shared, they reduce the number of cases they lose against file sharers on the grounds that they didn't know what they were sharing.

Re:Spill the beans (2, Informative)

rcolbert (1631881) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Spill the beans (4, Informative)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.
http://energycommerce.house.gov/Press_111/20090930/hr1319_ains.pdf [house.gov]

Re:Spill the beans (2, Insightful)

Smegly (1607157) | more than 4 years ago | (#29618967)

One possible reason: Makes services like Freenet illegal. For example donating disk space and bandwidth [freenetproject.org] to encrypted files where the user-node does not actually know what they are helping to deliver sounds like it would violate being "'clear and conspicuous' about which files are being shared and getting user consent to share them".

No "Common Carrier" [wikipedia.org] status for P2P nodes here...

Re:Spill the beans (2, Informative)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619075)

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:Spill the beans (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619125)

>>>Makes services like Freenet illegal.

Ahhh smack! Yes I think you've finally discovered the hidden agenda behind this bill. The U.S. government has systematically been stripping-away the right of anonymity, and Freenet's entire purpose is to keep files anonymous and out-of-government's prying eyes. This bill effectively kills the project by making Freenet illegal.

Re:Spill the beans (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619353)

Freenet could, barring a truly weird judicial interpretation, comply pretty easily.

The only "shared folder" is the folder, of user allocated size, where freenet stores its encrypted chunks. Each of those chunks is one of the shared files. All freenet would have to do is say "When you install freenet, all files in folder X will be shared with other freenet nodes, as well as any files you explicitly upload". The fact that the user does not and cannot figure out what exactly the encrypted chunks are is neither here nor there.

Do OS-included programs count? (4, Interesting)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#29618733)

Do sftpd and Windows File Sharing count? The bill better be carefully worded or the law of unintended consequences and vendors screaming "waitaminuteididn'tknowmyproductqualified" will be the end result.

Re:Do OS-included programs count? (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619657)

I think most laws are written to effect twice the number of people it looks like they are targeting. Then you never use it so that people don't fight it. In the end you are left with the ability to sue or charge any one into oblivion at any point in time.

I can almost guarantee I'm violating a half dozen laws as I type this. I'm sure over the next month if a team of well read lawyers tracked my every movement and inspected my house they could charge me with a few hundred offenses. A society of criminals is easier to control. It may sound paranoid but I doubt anyone here could go a month without doing a few dozen things you could get charged for.

Unwanted software (3, Insightful)

conureman (748753) | more than 4 years ago | (#29618747)

I'd like to see criminal penalties for bundling undisclosed and unwanted software with any application. See if that gets past the lobbyists.

Re:Unwanted software (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29618805)

What about hiding clauses in license agreements that people don't read and get screwn over by later, like the GPL3?

Re:Unwanted software (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#29618921)

How many aplication can't be considered P2P? Not many.

Re:Unwanted software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29619123)

Every application that is not P2P. So unless you specifically download software that opens a port on your computer that anyone can enter without supplying a password. Then it is not P2P. With sftp and Windows File Sharing you password protect the opened port so a user must authenticate themselves which creates privacy. If you create an unprotected user and then allow file sharing that is your own fault.

Re:Unwanted software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29619093)

All software is unwanted by sombebody.
E-mail is P2P, all websites are P2P, even your connection to your ISP is P2P.
Except the no one is really a Peer of mine!!
Arn't peers supposed to be EQUAL? There is no such thing as equal!

Re:Unwanted software (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619365)

Who is to judge what's unwanted though? Some people actually want the Google Toolbar that gets included with so many other programs. Many others do not. In a less spyware-ish sounding example, my first copy of AviSynth came bundled with another program, and I must say I am happy it did because it has become a mainstay in my video toolbox.

And who is to judge what constitutes separate software? When I go into the "Custom" screen of an installation program there's a LOT of little checkboxes to look over. I'd had to have to start individually downloading every one of those little options as plugins because ofn an overly broad interpretation of your plan.

Re:Unwanted software (2, Insightful)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619547)

You are an idiot.

Upon installation, disclose to the user that additional programs are included and ensure there is a way to opt out of the installation of those other programs.

In other words: the user.

Re:Unwanted software (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619687)

99% of all installers do this already. If that's all that was wanted then the status qou is pretty good. The GP specifically said BUNDLING of programs. Irfanview comes bundled with Google Toolbar. Yes you can opt out of it but that doesn't change the fact that it comes bundled, which by the GP's suggestion would possibly become illegal under such a law.

Stupid old men. (4, Insightful)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29618759)

How do they expect to enforce this law on companies that produce software outside of the US?

Apparently they still don't understand how this internet thing works.

LK

Re:Stupid old men. (1)

Eudial (590661) | more than 4 years ago | (#29618891)

How do they expect to enforce this law on companies that produce software outside of the US?

Apparently they still don't understand how this internet thing works.

LK

Yeah. The Internet is not something that you just dump something on. It's not a big truck. It's a series of tubes.

Re:Stupid old men. (1)

conureman (748753) | more than 4 years ago | (#29618913)

Track down their IPs. We still have ICBMs.

Re:Stupid old men. (0, Troll)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619173)

>>>Track down their IPs. We still have ICBMs.

Yes I'm sure the European Union will be most-happy when the U.S. sends an ICBM to destroy (for example) the Piratbyran office in Sweden. We may discover that the EU has a strength never revealed as they come cruising across the Atlantic, defeat D.C., and add 50 new colonies to their organization.

Re:Stupid old men. (0, Troll)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619417)

>>Yes I'm sure the European Union will be most-happy when the U.S. sends an ICBM to destroy (for example) the Piratbyran office in Sweden. We may discover that the EU has a strength never revealed as they come cruising across the Atlantic, defeat D.C., and add 50 new colonies to their organization

LOL, The dreams of a Euro Nutjob.

Why don't you go get a job instead of trolling slashdot all day?

Re:Stupid old men. (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619445)

Eh - if there's one thing the US is still good at it's war. We blow stuff up like it's going out of style. We spend a larger chunk of cash on our military then anyone else, and our air superiority is second to none (don't know if it stands true still but just before the turn of the millennium the US still had a large air force than the rest of the world combined). I'd rather doubt that the EU alone could defeat the US in a military conflict. Honestly I'd say that China by itself has a better chance at it.

Whether or not someone else decided to attack as well during any EU attack would be another matter though.

Re:Stupid old men. (0, Troll)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#29618947)

Apparently you don't understand that you should RTFA before spouting off.

Idiot.

Re:Stupid old men. (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619007)

Simple, if you don't like US law, then don't distribute your wares inside the US. Make sure your download site has a disclaimer "This software contains crap you don't want and can't remove, so US residents need not apply. By clicking 'I agree' I hereby affirm that I am not a US citizen or within US borders. Any of the world's other citizens can feel free to be pwned."

Re:Stupid old men. (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619195)

And how will you compel anyone outside of the jurisdiction of this law to display such a disclaimer?

Re:Stupid old men. (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619625)

No one outside the jurisdiction need display it. My laws don't apply to your citizens unless they want to do business in my country. If you're CEO of a German corporation and you distribute your illegal wares in the US, Germany will likely extradite you (unless Germany is like us and its politicians are easily bribed).

Re:Stupid old men. (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619693)

Uhh if I live in Sweden I'm expected to know vague laws in the US and abide by them hahaha no. Just ignore the law and nothing will happen, I mean no one even sells p2p software anyways and they rarely even have a defacto owner of the product.

Re:Stupid old men. (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619051)

Apparently they still don't understand how this internet thing works.

Add it to the list which includes: the economy, foreign policy, and Major League Baseball.

Ummmm (4, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 4 years ago | (#29618761)

even classified government documents have been found on these networks

If they're finding classified documents on the public internet, that means that they have a bigger problem like government employees disregarding security guidelines by putting them on unclassified networks.

Re:Ummmm (2, Insightful)

kevinNCSU (1531307) | more than 4 years ago | (#29618939)

Yea, I get the feeling that's just a sensationalist flag the media likes to wave to make the story more interesting. I think the real reason here is kids installing p2p software without the parents knowledge and the sharing the my documents folder or the whole C: drive including all the parents tax returns and other personal information.

Re:Ummmm (1)

blueZ3 (744446) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619029)

And I really don't see how this new law is going to prevent that. You can't legislate against ignorance/stupidity. If little Johnny Rotten is using P2P software and it asks him which directory to share and he says c:, I don't think that this law is going to help John Sr. get his SSN back in the bottle.

I'm tempted to wonder if there isn't some ulterior motive here... like since you can't prevent this kind of stupidity, maybe it's a stealth move to outlaw all P2P? Of course, you should never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity :-)

Re:Ummmm (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#29618959)

Actually, most those leaks come from private contractors.

However, this bill specifically address the bigger problem you imply.

Re:Ummmm (2, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619039)

Just because you have multiple problems, doesn't mean you have to tackle them one at a time. Several of the early file sharing apps were intentionally vague, because they figured more content == popularity so they tried to let users share as much as possible with as little effort as possible, hidden away in defaulted checkboxes or EULAs. As usual the legislation is very late though, this might have been useful around napster, kazaa and edonkey but these days most tools are a lot more serious. Not to mention torrents, that don't really have the problem at all. I guess it's just another way of trying to kill off the authors of P2P tools to kill P2P, not that it will be more successful than the last 34234 attempts.

In Other News... (4, Funny)

bbsguru (586178) | more than 4 years ago | (#29618825)

... the installation of viruses and worms on computers you don't won is now illegal. Massive layoffs are expected in the BotNet industry...

Re:In Other News... (0, Troll)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619333)

In related news, Microsoft is closing doors due to changes in laws rendering Windows illegal.

Waste of time (2, Insightful)

Shagg (99693) | more than 4 years ago | (#29618833)

The same users that are dumb/ignorant enough to share their tax and medical records are the same ones that won't bother to read any "clear and conspicuous" warnings. They'll either not understand it or hit "OK" without reading it. You can't write laws that eliminate stupidity.

Re:Waste of time (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29618955)

Sure you can, force everyone to take some basic scam / computer literacy classes to get a computer permit that lets you use a computer. Then do retests every 5 years or so to make sure people are up to date with the latest information. of course this will never happen and won't solve 100% of the problems but if this law existed and was strictly enforced it would cut down on computer stupidity.

Where is the "goodluckwiththat" tag? (2, Interesting)

exabrial (818005) | more than 4 years ago | (#29618883)

I guess the bill shows the fundamental lack of understanding of who makes these programs... But since we're making a wishlist, I think they should consider amending the bill to also:

Outlaw neighbor's kids on your lawn
Calling of mean names during recess
Impose regulations on which kids may be beat up on the bus, replacing the current "smallest kid" freemarket system.
Legalize marijuana and outlaw Light Beer.
Outlaw poverty, unhappiness, debt, bad driving and excessively loud cheering at football games.


did I miss anything?

Re:Where is the "goodluckwiththat" tag? (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#29618937)

Outlaw debt? This is the government we're talking about! Get real!

Clearly we should instead establish a federal monopoly on "owing money". Then patriotic government bonds won't have competition from the silly private sector. ;P

Re:Where is the "goodluckwiththat" tag? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619209)

What's wrong with decriminalizing marijuana? It's my body and if I want to kill myself using weed (or alcohol or tobacco or overeating), that MY business, not yours.

Re:Where is the "goodluckwiththat" tag? (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619519)

What if I don't want health insurance? Why can't that be my business, and not yours?

And what about strange things that people do while on drugs that quite possibly endanger others? Lawyers can already plead "temporary insanity" and get their clients to be treated differently - as though an insane person that likes to kill people is ok and not too dangerous, as opposed to a sane person - I'd hate to see what lawyers do when they start claiming "temporary loss of mental control due to substance contamination" or something.

Sure, maybe it's your body and life and you want to kill yourself using weed... but I don't particularly want to get killed by people, say, on LSD that think they're traveling through a wormhole when in fact they are actually driving a tractor through my house. Or something.

Re:Where is the "goodluckwiththat" tag? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619681)

>>>And what about strange things that people do while on drugs that quite possibly endanger others?

We already have laws to imprison those persons. Just because marijuana is decriminalized, doesn't mean it's okay to DUI or physically assault your neighbors. In fact if marijuana ever is decriminalized (like in California) it will be strictly regulated as a prescription drug, along with other dangerous drugs like vicodin, prozac, and morphine.

>>>What if I don't want health insurance? Why can't that be my business, and not yours?

Precisely. If I don't want health insurance, and prefer to die young and pretty, that's MY business not yours.

Ulterior motive? (4, Insightful)

Steve Cox (207680) | more than 4 years ago | (#29618915)

It could be that this bill is being passed simply to remove a set of excuses people might use when caught using P2P for sharing copyrighted material - hence the name of the bill.

If the software plainly states that it will be sharing a file with other people, then you cannot say 'I didn't know I was sharing it'. Likewise, you cannot say that it installed without your knowledge nor can you say it installed but you couldn't uninstall it.

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

Steve.

Re:Ulterior motive? (1)

Shagg (99693) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619055)

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

Bingo!

As we all know, the authors of P2P software are generally very conscientious about following the law. Not to mention the fact that they all fall under US jurisdiction.

Re:Ulterior motive? (2, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619155)

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

Yeah, it's like expecting a terrorist to care his car bomb is taking up two parking spaces.

Re:Ulterior motive? (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619205)

Well, in the terrorist's defense, getting a parking ticket right before his final suicide bombing could lower his karma enough to drop the count down to 71 virgins....or something...

Re:Ulterior motive? (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619267)

Well, in the terrorist's defense, getting a parking ticket right before his final suicide bombing could lower his karma enough to drop the count down to 71 virgins....or something...

For the record, nobody says those virgins are girls. They could all be old gay men that smell like old spice.

First step to disaster... (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 4 years ago | (#29618933)

This will push the scenario that the application should be knowing which files are which, and what is considered sensitive materials,
and will eventually fall upon the program and its creators to block or not block, and unintentionally also legallities associated to
sharing such files.
The creators are not supposed to limit what files are being shared, and definitely not be held accountable if someone uses the app for their own evil purpose, else the creator of the nuclear bomb should be imprisoned for all the deaths in Hiroshima!
This makes no sense, and I see where it is going, hopefully the bill wont pass.

Re:First step to disaster... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619389)

else the creator of the nuclear bomb should be imprisoned for all the deaths in Hiroshima!

Is it Monday already? Where are all these brain-dead comments coming from? It is not illegal to kill the enemy your country is at war with. You would execute Texas' hangmen? WTF?

What grade are you in, son?

Liar, Liar. (4, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#29618953)

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.

Sure it is. Now, how about taking a closer look;

the term "peer-to-peer file sharing program" means[...]
to designate files available for transmission to another computer
to transmit files directly to another computer; and
to request the transmission of files from another computer.

Well, that's basically "using the internet". And using the definition of "protected computer", if you can add a tcp/ip stack to your toaster, it's a protected computer. So what will it be illegal to do using anything with a microprocessor and can communicate with the outside world? Also, "authorized user" -- I suspect a lot of EULAs are going to be updated so that every company that has a piece of networkable software installed on your system is now also an authorized user. Unintended consequences are a bitch, aren't they? Your system is now legally required to be insecure and full of backdoors. ...prevent the reasonable efforts of an owner or authorized user from blocking the installation [of a] program or function thereof

So installing is now okay. 'Using' not available for comment. So we can still f*ck with it at the operating system level, or neuter it in memory -- messing with the code after installation or during runtime isn't covered. Oops.

to fail to provide a reasonable and effective means to disable or remove from the protected computer...[excessive legalese deleted]

Translation: Installers should come with uninstallers. We need a law for this? And without a definition of what "reasonable and effective" constitutes -- well, need I say more? Anyone try uninstalling Norton Antivirus lately? It's quicker just to nuke the drive from orbit, and it's the only way to be sure you got everything. Can I expect federal pound me in the ass prison time for all the Norton executives? No? Why -- oh, right... they're rich. But you there, little open source developer -- we know you're evil. I mean, you don't even have a brand identity!

Yeah... this ends well.

Re:Liar, Liar. (0, Troll)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619291)

the term "peer-to-peer file sharing program" means[...]
to designate files available for transmission to another computer
to transmit files directly to another computer; and
to request the transmission of files from another computer.

Well, that's basically "using the internet"

WOW that was really informative. Thanks. Now everybody raise their hands if they still think government is good and trustworthy? (looks around). Yeah me neither. This act sounds like it will seriously hamper my use of my computer.

Re:Liar, Liar. (2, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619495)

Translation: Installers should come with uninstallers. We need a law for this?

Since installers DO need uninstallers and many software houses either don't provide an uninstaller, or provide one that doesn't work, I'd say HELL YES. The law should not protect me from myself, but it SHOULD protect me from YOU.

Anyone try uninstalling Norton Antivirus lately?

I think a lot of folks would love to see their CEO and board in jail. If a law mandating effective uninstallers were passed, you'd see an easily removable Norton in record time.

Can I expect federal pound me in the ass prison time for all the Norton executives? No? Why -- oh, right... they're rich.

Then stop voting for candidates funded by the rich (i.e., Democrats and Republicans) and start voting for candidates from the other three major parties. And tell al your friends, relatives, and drunks at your neighborhood bar. Wringing your hands and saying "oh noes" isn't going to change anything.

What is P2P ? (1)

artg (24127) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619013)

Surely all internet hosts are peers. So this applies to anything that communicates. Not that that's a bad thing : people should understand (and be informed enough to understand) what their software is sharing.

Blizzard uses P2P, so does this affect Warden? (1)

Kligat (1244968) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619027)

If they use a P2P program to distribute an update to it, does that mean it would become illegal as an unforeseen effect? Their EULA would be as valid as the EULA for a P2P program for which the bill was targeted.

Re:Blizzard uses P2P, so does this affect Warden? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Relevant Quote (5, Insightful)

Kindgott (165758) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619077)

"Anyone who says that the solution is to educate the users hasn't ever met an actual user."
-- Bruce Schneier

What all does this apply to? (1)

BlueKitties (1541613) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619097)

Does this mean it's illegal for me to write software for personal (or in-house company) use, without abiding by these rules? What if I want to write the software for a personal project, and I release the sourcode? Does this mean I can officially break the law by typing code into a text file?

~500 voices != representation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29619131)

~500 voices speaking for 360 Million, and this is what you get.

watch out for amendments (1)

HHacim (1068726) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619213)

I have a sneaking suspicion that the mpaa or riaa are going to get an amendment into this bill that will "stop piracy". I mean, a bill that pertains to p2p and doesn't include such an amendment, what's the chances of that?

scare tactics (1)

samantha (68231) | more than 4 years ago | (#29619631)

Simply scaring people about P2P may be one goal. But I doubt it. Scare them, pass legislation, then more regulation to ensure the bugaboo, largely made up to begin with, does not happen. It is a wedge to allow the government more control of software. And, considering the source, thoroughly in the interest of the movie and record industry. It also makes the control-freaks unhappy about anything that gives any real power to the "consumer" happy. It is worded so that oppose seem to be in favor of insecure computers. Clever but OPPOSE anyway.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...