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Government Suggested to Regulate P2P

Senior U.S. lawmaker and New York Democrat Edolphus Towns, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said during a hearing today that the government needs to step in and regulate companies that provide peer-to-peer file-sharing services. The comment stems from his overall opinion of popular P2P service LimeWire and its use in acquiring FBI files, Social Security numbers, medical records, and information regarding a safe house location for President Barack Obama.

"As far as I am concerned, the days of self-regulation should be over for the file-sharing industry," Towns said in the hearing. "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."

According to Reuters, Towns will introduce legislation that bans open network, unsecure, peer-to-peer software from all networks and computers relating to the government and its contractors. He also said that he plans to meet with the new FTC chairman in regards to investigating whether or not P2P software using "inadequate safeguards" constitute unfair trade practice. He plans to speak with the FCC as well.

Although the FCC and FTC declined to comment, LimeWire's founder and Chairman Mark Gorton defended the P2P service, saying that inadvertent file sharing has been fixed with the new version. "Now, it shares nothing until sharing is specifically enabled," he said. "LimeWire is perfectly safe."

Too late, Mr. Gorton. Uncle Sam is ticked.