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Peer-to-peer networks, less than peerless at times!
Written by Daniel   
Saturday, 17 March 2007 09:53

Patent Office Issues Scathing Review of File-Sharing Networks

Steve Kovsky (Blog) - March 16, 2007 8:53 PM, DailyTech

Peer-to-peer networks are playing fast and loose with your personal information, according to the USPTO This detail from the report shows a BearShare setup screen. Though it appears that filesharing has been disabled for all folders by clicking on the "Deselect All" button, the program continues to surreptitiously share the Downloads folder.
Peer-to-peer networks are playing fast and loose with your personal information, according to the USPTO

File-sharing programs that "dupe" users into inadvertently sharing files could be to blame for turning our nation's children into criminals and government workers into unwitting spies. That's the gist of a just-released report from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PDF) which thoroughly documents the ways in which filesharing programs are designed to share files on users' hard drives, whether they want to or not.

The 75-page report, "Filesharing Programs and Technological Features to Induce Users to Share,” contains a foreword by Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and USPTO Director Jon W. Dudas. Dudas said the November 2006 was published at his request after reviewing troubling allegations from USPTO staff that the most popular file-sharing programs -- BearShare, eDonkey, Kazaa, LimeWire and Morpheus -- are all designed to encourage users to share their files, often without their knowledge or express consent.

The report is rife with examples of ways that programs fail to disclose, or willfully disguise the extent to which users are making their private files available on peer-to-peer networks. In some cases, the programs have been shown to continue sharing files and folders even after users have deliberately deactivated sharing features.

The patent office issues many ominous warnings in the report, charging that inadvertent filesharing victimizes copyright holders while making users vulnerable to lawsuits. Charging that the P2P filesharing systems "prey upon the young and the naive," the report goes on to charge that numerous features in P2P software clients "have been deployed to trick the young and the unwary into uploading infringing files that culpable, revenue-generating `leechers' could download with little risk to themselves."... MORE

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