Peer-To-Peer File Sharing Comes With Risks, Says FTC - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Infrastructure
News
6/23/2005
06:48 PM
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Peer-To-Peer File Sharing Comes With Risks, Says FTC

Benefits include speed and bandwidth conservation, but FTC doesn't make it clear whether they outweigh risks such as data security, spyware, and viruses.

Peer-to-peer file-sharing technology offers both benefits and risks, according to a report issued today by the Federal Trade Commission.

The report, based on comments from the FTC's P2P workshop last December, cites benefits such as fast file transfers, bandwidth conservation, and reduced storage needs. It also warns of risks related to data security, spyware and adware, viruses, copyright infringement, and pornography.

How significant are those risks compared with general Internet use? The FTC doesn't know. "Workshop participants submitted little empirical evidence concerning whether the risks arising from P2P file sharing are greater than, equal to, or less than these risks from other Internet-related activities," the report finds.

The report comes at an odd time. The Supreme Court is expected to soon decide the future of peer-to-peer technology when it rules in the case of Metro-Goldwyn Mayer Studios v. Grokster Ltd. As the FTC says, "Because [this case] likely will clarify the legal framework applicable to P2P file sharing and may have a profound effect on the future structure and impact of P2P file-sharing programs, FTC staff does not believe that it would be prudent at this time to make specific recommendations regarding the intellectual-property issues raised by P2P file sharing."

Of course, intellectual-property issues are at the crux of P2P file sharing. Unwilling to confront either the entertainment industry's frothy contempt for P2P technology or consumers' disregard for copyright laws, the best the FTC can manage is to encourage P2P software makers to more fully disclose the evidently unmeasured risks that may be associated with the use of their products.

The FTC urges policymakers to "balance the protection of intellectual property and the freedom to advance new technologies, thereby encouraging the creation of new artistic works as well as economic growth and enhanced business efficiency." That's easier said than done.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Commentary
2021 Outlook: Tackling Cloud Transformation Choices
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  1/4/2021
News
Enterprise IT Leaders Face Two Paths to AI
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  12/23/2020
Slideshows
10 IT Trends to Watch for in 2021
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  12/22/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
Download this report to compare how cloud usage and spending patterns have changed in 2020, and how respondents think they'll evolve over the next two years.
Video
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you.
Slideshows
Flash Poll