Anti-File Sharing Lobbyists/Lawyers Shove Each Other Aside To Blame P2P Rather Than Dumb Guy For Congressional Leak

A couple years ago, some entertainment industry lobbyists hit on a new idea for trying to get Congress to legislate against file sharing software: figure out ways to blame it for stupid employees. More specifically, figure out a way to blame it for stupid employees… in the government. So, those lobbyists have worked hard to highlight every single time some sort of sensitive government information was leaked via file sharing programs, and then even got Congress to investigate file sharing programs, rather than government security policies or how the government deals with stupid employees who put sensitive information on home computers that also have file sharing software installed improperly (set to share everything). The latest is that they were even able to get a ridiculously poorly thought-out law proposed that would cause problems for nearly every software you use online. Brilliant.

So, of course, as the news broke that there was a leak of a Congressional ethics investigation, because a staffer put the document on his or her home machine that had file sharing software on it, the usual crowd of folks wasted no time at all in highlighting the use of P2P software and presenting file sharing as if it (rather than dumb employees and bad government security) was a huge national security threat and (of course) to urge Congresss to pass laws against file sharing programs. The one thing in common? All of those calls come from people who get paychecks from the entertainment industry.

Funny, I don’t see them calling for laws that would lock down and secure laptops, even though government employees lose thousands of laptops every year — many with sensitive information. I don’t see them calling for laws against email software, though I would bet that a lot more sensitive information is leaked by people simply emailing it to the wrong party. They don’t call for laws against the telephone, even though people leak info over the phone. What? No laws against dining in restaurants where you might hear some info from folks at the next table? This has nothing to do with file sharing software. It has everything to do with poor security setup and dumb government employees. The claims that this happens so often are misleading. The federal government employs nearly 3 million people. We hear about these sorts of “leaks” once every year or so. Out of 3 million people, if anything, I’d be amazed there are so few leaks.

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