Craig at mtpolitics wrote rather extensively here about P2P (i.e. peer to peer) file sharing programs. The gist of his post is that the folks who download (i.e. swap) music files with other P2P software users may not just be swapping music. Apparently all sorts of things are out there for all the world to see, some of which is quite shocking and even dangerous. Craig wrote:
…Most people think that if they download and install Kazaa, Limewire, etc., all it does is download music. They don’t understand that the program scans their hard drive for files to share, and doesn’t care whether it’s music or not. The concepts of Spyware, Adware and file sharing just don’t resonate with them
Later, he pointed to a specific site called “See What You Share on P2P.” I too received a referral from that site (Thank you), and I checked it out. The author of the site has made it his mission to demonstrate just what kinds of things are out there for everyone to see. Like the fellow described in Craig’s post, who found sensitive material and notified various federal agencies, all to no avail, Glen Breakwater (an alias), the author of “See What You Share on P2P” found the same lack of governmental response. As he explains, this led to the creation of his site:
Technology often outruns legislation. So is the case with Peer 2 Peer networks. Many people obtain P2P software so they can download music or movies. A large number of those people do not have any idea what they are sharing.
A few months ago, I downloaded some military briefings from the Gnutella Network. The briefings were zipped and the file contained 21 documents with classifications ranging from For Official Use Only to Secret/NO FORN. Shocked at my discovery, I notified an agency on a nearby military installation. When nothing happened, I notified another agency. I continued this course because no action was taken and for a nation at war, I was concerned for the safety of our soldiers.
It may appear that I am picking on certain institutions [emphasis seems to be on things military ed.]. This is true. I want everyone to know that we can be our own worst enemies when we don’t understand the full power of our technology. I want every military and government agency to see first hand what is being shared with anyone who has a computer. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I can save myself some talking.
His latest post highlights what happens when P2P software resides on the same hard drive as people’s medical records.
I never got into music downloading, and, given the existence and scope of this problem, I am not about to start. I think I’ll continue to get my music by buying CDs, and I hope my doctor is doing the same.