US P2P bill aims shackles at browsers, IM
Warning: You are downloading
Technology lobbying groups have pounced on proposed US legislation designed to prevent the accidental sharing of sensitive files over peer-to-peer networks, saying it is so broad that web browsers and even entire operating systems would also be covered.
The Informed P2P User Act would require makers of file-sharing software to add prominent warnings that files can be shared and require users to give their consent by clicking a button. The notice would appear once when the application is being installed and again when it it is first run.
The problem is that the warning would be required for any program that allows a file to be uploaded or downloaded, a capability that's included in browsers, instant messaging programs, and indeed most operating systems, since they include FTP, or file transfer protocol.
"If legislation ends up sweeping in many kinds of software, there are likely to be a wider range of issues and complications to consider, as the bill's requirements might not prove appropriate in all contexts," David Sohn, senior policy counsel for the Center for Democracy & Technology, wrote in prepared comments (PDF) before the a subcommittee for the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Four technology trade groups voiced similar concerns (also PDF).
The bill, introduced in March by Republican Representative Mary Bono Mack of California, is aimed at preventing debacles like the one in March that exposed confidential blueprints detailing President Obama's Marine One helicopter. It was only the latest example of sensitive files being broadcast to the world through P2P networks. While most programs by default don't share the entire contents of a hard drive, careless users often override these settings.
Bono's bill is designed to save such users from themselves. But as written, it may create a whole new mess someone else will need to clean up. ®
> Not all software is made in the US
Bloody good job too, given the crap we often have to work with that passes for software coming out of the US.
> People who use P2P often download 'cracked' versions of software which may have their
> own installs
I'm glad you put "often" but I'd still like to see your data on this. There are a lot of assumptions made about P2P and its uses and I'm not keen on the idea of being suckered in Usenet style by unsubstantiated statements.
> People buy and sell second hand PC's pre loaded with software
Very true. But then that isn't always a bad thing. EULAs are far too restrictive in such areas and can lead to all sorts of confusion with end users, especially at times when they are changing over PCs for whatever reason.
> People buy PC's pre-loaded and setup with software.
Again, quite true. Since this is generally at the insistance of such morons as Microsoft so that they can manipulate the EULA to their own advantage, and is often accepted by end users because they don't want to get their hands dirty on the nasty, grubby task of installation any more than they have to, I don't see this changing much.
> The list goes on and on......Idiot.
That's life. Like it or hate it, you can't ignore it.
Sounds familiar, that does!
So many reasons..
Not all software is made in the US
People who use P2P often download 'cracked' versions of software which may have their own installs
People buy and sell second hand PC's pre loaded with software
People buy PC's pre-loaded and setup with software.
The list goes on and on......Idiot.
Extreme 1: Politicians in positions of power but no specific knowledge of the technology at hand. They bring in bills and other legal instruments without clear knowledge of what they are on about, even if they do consult those that do know, mostly because they don't know what questions to ask and often misinterpret the answers they get.
Extreme 2: Technology supremos who want the world and they want it pretty damn soon. They differ very little from extreme 1 except that they are more interested in making themselves as powerful as possible, no matter who gets hurt in the process. Increasingly these are less likely to be politicians but will often have politicians at their mercy.
And where does the real power reside? Hey, I'm a BOFH! If you really want to know, and you can't figure it out, my prices are reasonable!