The House passed a bill Wednesday banning the installation and use of peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing software on all federal computers, systems and networks.
Peer-to-peer programs such as BitTorrent, Lime Wire and KazaA pose security risks for the federal government. Rep. Edophus Towns, D-N.Y., introduced HR 4098 after several publicized information breaches involving peer-to-peer programs last year. In one case, confidential House Ethics Committee investigation documents were posted online after a staffer loaded the documents onto her personal computer which had peer-to-peer sharing software installed.
Towns praised the House’s 408-13 vote in a statement.
While I understand that peer-to-peer file sharing software offers great potential, the security risks of open network use on federal computers and systems far exceed that potential. Because of our actions today, important safeguards are now in place to protect sensitive government information.”
The bill would require the Office of Management and Budget’s director to draft guidance to agencies banning the use of the file-sharing software and address the use of peer-to-peer programs on employees and contractors’ home and personal computers that may be used for teleworking.
The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.