Lawmakers are considering a bill that would prohibit peer-to-peer file sharing programs from being installed onto computers without consent.
The P2P Cyber Protection and Information User Act will also require software developers to inform people when their files are made available to others via peer-to-peer networks.
Introduced Wednesday by Sens. Amy Klobuchar and John Thune, authority would be given to the Federal Trade Commission to enforce the act.
The security of P2P files has been a concern to legislators for a while, though to date no legislation has been put in place to date.
Just Monday, the FTC that it uncovered rampant data breaches across various institutions as members of those institutions engaged in swapped files over the Internet.
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Congress also is considering a bill that would require the Office of Management and Budget to prohibit the use of P2P software like BitTorrent or Limewire on government computers and networks. It also would set policies on home use by federal employees who telework or remotely access government networks.
Companies should take a hard look at their systems to ensure that there are no unauthorized P2P file-sharing programs and that authorized programs are properly configured and secure, The FTC said on Monday.
The P2P Cyber Protection and Informed User Act has public support from advocacy groups such as Stop Child Predators and industry groups such as the Recording Industry Association of America.