Wired’s Eliot Van Buskirk reports that Congress is putting pressure on file sharing service LimeWire to meet certain privacy standards so as to prevent the program from being used to obtain top-secret information. The whole thing apparently started after someone with an Iranian IP address managed to download “detailed information” about President Obama’s “Marine One” helicopter from a government computer with LimeWire installed on it.
Now Wired has an exclusive advance copy of a letter sent by Mark Gorton, LimeWire’s chairman, in response to a stern inquiry made by the House of Representatives’ Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. In his letter, Gorton tries to calm Congress’ fears by pointing out that the newest version of LimeWire (v 5.0) cannot share document type files. In other words, Iranian hackers will be able to steal government employees’ pirated copies of Wolverine, but secret memos and nuclear weapon instruction manuals are now safe.
This topic is worthy of a longer discussion, which I won’t have here, but shouldn’t Congress focus their energy on preventing government employees from installing LimeWire on their computers? I don’t use the program, personally, as I learned years ago that it’s buggy and full of suspicious activity, but I wouldn’t use it on a computer with my bank information, let alone on some Dell installed at NORAD. As General Buck Turgidson would say, they “can see the big board!”