Tuesday, 20 March 2007

PTO: P2P threatens national security

The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office apparently thought it wasn't in the headlines enough this month. On March 5, it issued a press release announcing a November 2006 report (1.22mb) which claims that P2P networks threaten national security. The logic is, at best, bad and, at worst, intentionally deceptive.

Information Week reports:

The report, which the patent office recently forwarded to the U.S. Department of Justice, states that peer-to-peer networks could manipulate sites so children violate copyright laws more frequently than adults. That could make children the target in most copyright lawsuits and, in turn, make those protecting their material appear antagonistic, according to the report.
Conclusion: Software is to blame when record companies act without social responsibility. The article continues:
File-sharing software also could be to blame for government workers who expose sensitive data and jeopardize national security after downloading free music on the job, the report states.

"There are documented incidents of P2P file sharing where Department of Defense sensitive documents have been found on non-U.S. computers with no protection against hostile intelligence," the Patent and Trademark Office explained in a statement.

The basis for this last statement is apparently a bullet point on page 22 of the report, which quotes an unnamed and undocumented source within the Department of Homeland Security as stating: "There are documented incidents of P2P file sharing where Department of Defense (DoD) sensitive documents have been found on non-US computers with no protection against hostile intelligence services." No documentation (or even a footnote) is provided in this report, however. The PTO report does not even state who within DHS made this claim or in what context.

Email me if you're interested in the betting pool on whether this "fact" was made up by DHS or by the PTO.

Via Bruce Schneier.

Posted at 10:54:27 PM | Permalink

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Topics: IP, P2P, Politics, Technology
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