Lawmakers now hope to take aim at peer-to-peer file sharing software programs, noting a growing number of privacy breaches using LimeWire and other notable software programs.
"As far as I am concerned, the days of self-regulation should be over for the file-sharing industry," House Oversight Government Reform Committee Chairman Edolphus Towns noted. "In the last administration, the Federal Trade Commission took a see-no-evil, hear-no-evil approach to the file sharing software industry. I hope the new administration is revisiting that approach."
Both the government and private industry have had run-ins with employees using P2P programs at work, leading to unauthorized access to FBI files, Social Security numbers, medical records and other confidential information. The problem is even worse with employees who install the software on notebooks or other portable devices, as they are sometimes accessed by more than one person while away from the office.
Towns hopes to ban government and contractor employees from installing P2P software that is unsecure and on an open network.
Along with legislation, the senior U.S. lawmaker is pressuring the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to launch an investigation of the P2P industry.
Several P2P programs have been shut down -- mainly due to piracy and copyright infringement concerns -- but lawmakers are taking a serious look into the actual use of P2P among employees, regardless of activity.
LimeWire has been the target of heavy criticism due to a mistake in which inadvertent file-sharing took place -- often against the knowledge of the LimeWire user, which caused serious privacy issues.