Lawmaker Seeks Government P2P Ban
Legislation to restrict the use of P2P (peer-to-peer) file sharing
software across the federal government was introduced Nov. 17 by Rep.
Ed Towns (D-NY), chairman of the House Oversight and
Government Reform Committee. The bill comes after a highly confidential
House Ethics Committee document containing the list of
ongoing investigations was inadvertently exposed in October by a
staffer with P2P software on his computer.
can no longer ignore the threat to sensitive government information
that insecure peer-to-peer networks pose," Towns said in a statement.
"Voluntary self-regulations have failed so now is the time for Congress
Other P2P security incidents this year include highly sensitive information discovered on open
file sharing networks regarding the electronic schematics to the
President's helicopter, Marine One; the financial
information belonging to Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer; and the location of
a U.S. Secret Service safe house for the First Family.
"The time has come to put the proper file sharing restrictions in
place. I believe my legislation will help prevent these types of
inadvertent security breaches from occurring in the future," Towns said.
the face of it, the legislation would prohibit the download,
installation or use by government employees and contractors of open
network peer-to-peer file sharing software on all federal computers,
computer systems and networks, including those operated by contractors
on the government's behalf. The bill would also ask the Director of the
Office of Management and Budget to address the use of P2P software by
government employees and contractors as it relates to telework and
remotely accessing federal computers, computer systems and networks.
However, the bill would allow agencies to seek approval for P2P use if it is necessary for the day-to-day operations of the agency or is instrumental to completion of a task.