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Peer-to-Peer Software and You

By Claudia Lynch, Benchmarks Online Editor

Governor Rick Perry issued an executive order on April 5 that prohibits the unauthorized or illegal use of peer-to-peer (P2P) software on state computer systems. According to an article published on the Federal Computer Week website April 13, the executive order directs "the state Department of Information Resources to devise a policy prohibiting the unauthorized or illegal use of such software programs and also permitting their use for government business and law enforcement purposes that won’t pose a risk to computer systems." The policy does not directly apply to the legislative or judicial branches of Texas government or to Constitutional state officers, although they could adopt it.

What UNT Says about P2P Software

The Information Security User Guide has this to say about P2P software:

Peer to Peer Software (e.g. Kazaa) and Copyright Infringement

Peer-to-peer (P2P) software such as Kazaa allows millions of people to swap music, movies, and other file types. While this is not strictly a security issue, it does violate the Computer Use Policy if an excessive/unnecessary amount of bandwidth is consumed. These programs can make the network and Internet speeds crawl for anyone using the same network. P2P software has also become the medium of choice for hackers to quickly disseminate viruses and other “malware.” In addition, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) has made it illegal to share copyrighted materials, which happens to be almost all the movies you watch, the music you listen to, the games you play, and the programs you use. So if you use P2P software, you now know that you are in danger of becoming infected with a virus and violating both University policy and federal law.

ResNet

All P2P programs are banned on UNT's ResNet network as they facilitate the exponential growth of viruses at UNT. (Source http://www.tams.unt.edu/resnet/newnewnew/misc/glossary.html )

 


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