Congress Critters: P2P a Threat to National Security

Kurt Nimmo
Tuesday July 31, 2007

It is understandable Congress critters are concerned about the existence of peer-to-peer networks as Congress by and large is owned and operated by transnational corporations and the very idea of non-centralized peers operating as equals sans central servers and routers is anathema to them. It should come as no surprise Congress has declared peer-to-peer networks to be a threat to “national security,” that is to say the very concept runs counter to the idea of “public-private partnering in homeland security,” i.e., corporations mandating threats—usually defined as the inability to dominate markets and enforce monopolies—and unleashing federal dogs on “terrorists,” that is to say those who either refuse to accept or resist their dominance.

“According to recent studies by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and private researchers,” TMCnet reports, federal employees are wont “to share sensitive or classified documents accidentally from their computers,” including “confidential corporate-accounting documents, localized terrorist threat assessments, classified government military orders, as well as personal information such as federal workers’ credit card numbers, bank statements, tax returns and medical records,” and thus there ought to be a law. “Although politicians believed that there are benefits to peer-to-peer technology, they felt that if proper restrictions are not imposed, it will compromise national security, intrude on personal privacy and violate copyright law. Both [Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman] and Rep. Paul Hodes called P2P networks ongoing national security threats.”

In other words, the IT folks working for the feds are idiots, since they allow peer-to-peer software on their machines. But never mind. It is not about what software is installed or how bandwidth is used but rather it is about crushing “darknets” far and wide, as they cannot by their nature be controlled. “It is illegal for government employees to leak certain types of classified documents without approval, either electronically or through traditional paper means,” but instead of tracking down the perps and prosecuting them, Congress is determined to wipe out the very existence of peer-to-peer networks.

Dare I suggest Sandy Berger stuffing classified documents down his pants is more of a threat to “national security” than P2P networks sharing files?

“Mr. Waxman hasnít a clue what heís talking about and this new round of political grandstanding is absurd,” complains George Ou, writing for ZDNet. “The Federal Government should clean up their own security act because year after year they get failing or near failing grades. Mr. Waxman is slamming Lime Wire for producing software that may circumvent Federal Government security, but the real question is why are Federal Government IT departments allowing Federal employees to install Lime Wire or any other piece of software on Government computers? The mere fact that Government Employees have administrative access to install software on their computers let alone computers with access to sensitive information is absurd. If you canít even keep employees from installing Lime Wire, youíre sure as hell not going to prevent them from installing root kits which are infinitely more destructive.”

Good point. But then installing Lime Wire or even installing rootkits—a rootkit is a set of software tools intended to conceal running processes, files or system data from the operating system—is not the point.

“One of the arguments that is increasingly being made is that P2P technology is a threat to national security,” writes Ernest Miller, a fellow at the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. “The argument is weak (it hurts our economy, so it must hurt our national defense), but it is the rhetorical equivalent of a bomb used to silence opposition…. One could easily note that most pro-copyright maximalist bills will do more damage to our consumer electronics and computer industries than benefit the copyright industries.”

Of course, the only “electronics and computer industries” that matter, as far as the corporate whorehouse known as Congress is concerned, are behemoths such as Microsoft and the telecoms, already in bed with the government in the name of “national security,” that is to say snooping on your telephony traffic, just in case you are a terrorist, in other words you are actively opposed to the government. After all, the Ministry of Homeland Security didn’t hire former Stasi chief Markus Wolfe and former head of the KGB General Yevgeni Primakov for nothing. It has less to do with kids sharing Fergie and Shop Boyz MP3s and more to do with control, as we are ruled by control freaks, although the “entertainment industry,” control freaks in the name of every last dime to be squeezed out of teenagers, are collaborating—or maybe that should be purchased like a call girl—with Congress for their own selfish reasons.

In the Borg Hive society envisioned by our rulers, all communication not methodically snooped by our very own Ministerium fŁr Staatssicherheit (Stasi) and approved by a sprawling bureaucracy no different than the Main Administration for Safeguarding State Secrets in the Press of the USSR Council of Ministers will not only be impermissible but impossible.

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