S. Hrg. 108-252: Dark Side of a Bright Idea: Could Personal and National Security Risks Compromise the Potential of Peer-To-Peer File-Sharing Networks?: Hearing before the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, One Hundred Eighth Congress, First Session, June 17, 2003 [open pdf - 5MB]
This hearing is on peer-to-peer networks and security risks. Peer-to-peer software is a technology that allows Internet users around the world to share files with each other very easily. All you need is some software, which can be obtained free, and an Internet connection, and your files are instantly made available over the Internet. This technology can be used to help researchers share information or files seamlessly across borders or to help business people share documents. In other words, there are good, positive, legitimate reasons for this. But as with many new technologies, there are also serious risks. For normal users, this lack of security presents the real threat of identity theft. Stored credit card information, financial documents of all kinds, personal information, like birthdays, mother's maiden names, you name it, all of this is often stored on an individual's computer and all of it can thus be compromised if the user is not careful when setting up peer-to-peer software. For government users, the situation is far worse. Not only personally sensitive information can be stolen, but information vital to the functioning of government, as well. Confidential memos, Defense Department information, law enforcement records, all could be available to any Internet user with some free software and the desire to go looking. The scope of the problem is unclear. Nobody really knows how many government employees are using this software and what level of risk there truly is. But one thing seems clear. The risk is not worth it. Statements, letters, and materials submitted for the record include those of the following: Orrin G. Hatch, Patrick J. Leahy, Tom Davis, Dianne Feinstein, Nathaniel S. Good, Alan Morris, Chris Murray, Randy Saaf, Henry A. Waxman, and Derek Broes.
S. Hrg. 108-252; Senate Hearing 108-252
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