Feeds

US Patent Office says P2P threatens national security

Drags kids into life of crime, too

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

The US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) has launched a stinging attack on peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing services, publishing a report (pdf) from its Office of International Relations earlier this month.

"A decade ago, the idea that copyright infringement could become a threat to national security would have seemed implausible," said USPTO director Jon Dudas, introducing the document. "Now, it's a sad reality."

The report examines popular P2P platforms BearShare, eDonkey, KaZaA, LimeWire, and Morpheus. The central thrust of the authors is that the programs are designed to get users to share files inadvertently, thus incriminating themselves. They conclude that “the distributors of these five file-sharing programs have repeatedly deployed features that had a known propensity to trick users into uploading infringing files by accident.”

The USPTO writers admit, however, that “in each case, an obscure mechanism appears to allow sophisticated users to avoid the coerced-sharing feature and stop sharing.” They go on to speculate that “schemes that targeted young or unsophisticated users would also ensure that attempts to enforce copyrights against those infringers who upload hundreds or thousands of infringing files would tend to target young or sympathetic users.” This would cunningly make the people doing the enforcing look bad, as they hauled the P2P distributors’ youthful dupes into court.

The threat to national security comes in when people with sensitive information install P2P software. Dudas said the “government employees or contractors who had installed file-sharing programs on their home or work computers … repeatedly compromised national and military security by sharing files containing sensitive or classified data.”

Sensitive materials have appeared on file-sharing networks for years, but typically viruses or intentional leaks have been blamed. In this case, the USPTO is pointing the finger squarely at the P2P designers.

“There will almost never be a legitimate business or governmental justification for employee use of file-sharing programs,” says the report.

Many might ask exactly why the patents office felt the need to weigh in here. However, Dudas’ full job title is Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property, and the USPTO makes no secret of the fact that it sees itself with a big role in copyright protection and even enforcement. The patent authorities aren’t concerned with protecting national security. They are acting here mainly to protect copyright. ®

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes
Phone egg, meet desktop chicken - your mother
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.