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[] IT-Unsicherheit durch Filesharing? US-Kongress wird aktiv,

National Journal - Congress Daily - 26 sept 03

Officials Seek To Address Security Impact Of File Sharing

By Greta Wodele

Lawmakers introduced legislation Thursday that would require federal
departments to address security and privacy vulnerabilities in computer
networks that have been caused by Internet file-sharing technology.

"While most of the news coverage on file sharing focuses on the ability
of users to illegally trade copyrighted music, movies and videos,
another less-publicized, dark side to this technology is the risk it
poses to the security of computers and the privacy of electronic
information," said House Government Reform Chairman Davis. "Using these
programs is similar to giving a complete stranger access to your
personal file cabinet."

The bill, introduced by Davis and Government Reform ranking member Henry
Waxman, D-Calif., would require federal agencies to develop and
implement within six months a plan to address threats that peer-to-peer
file-sharing programs pose to computer systems.

Waxman argued that peer-to-peer technology can jeopardize records that
include "incredibly sensitive personal information about citizens,
including tax returns, military records, and medical and psychiatric
records." Waxman said the software also poses a significant threat to
national security information.

Peer-to-peer programs have grown significantly in popularity, he said,
noting that the most popular file-sharing technology, Kazaa, has been
downloaded more than 280 million times.

The Recording Industry Association of America, which has filed 260 court
cases against individuals for making copyrighted music files from
peer-to-peer networks, applauded the measure.

"Given the highly sensitive information the federal government stores on
its computers or networks, it is encouraging to see that all federal
agencies will now be taking similar precautions," RIAA President and CEO
Mitch Bainwol said.

Waxman said a GAO study under way has found file-sharing programs on
computers at the top-secret research laboratory in Los Alamos, N.M., and
a committee investigation found that computer users are unknowingly
sharing personal information such as tax returns, medical files and
entire e-mail inboxes.

Congress took steps two years ago to protect its computers and networks
from the privacy and security risks, he said, but federal agencies "have
yet to follow suit."

The bill would require federal agencies to address the potential privacy
and security breaches. While the bill would not forbid the use of file
sharing technology, Waxman said that jeopardizing classified
information, privacy and the computer networks poses too high a risk.

"When popularly available peer-to-peer file-sharing programs can
threaten us with viruses and worms and put at risk the privacy of
sensitive information," he said, "I think that we can all agree that
they have no place on government computers and networks."

A committee spokesman argued that bill language that would allow
departments to use peer-to-peer file sharing if it does not pose risks
to network security recognizes that there are "potentially beneficial
uses of this technology in the government but also clearly states that
security risks trump those benefits."

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