Risks 	Involved with Anonymous File Sharing

The Committee on National Reform has reported several risks to the user of file-sharing software.

1. File-sharing networks have become digital pornographic libraries containing all types of pornography including child pornography. Children under the age of 18 can easily access these files for free whether intentionally or unintentionally. In a study conducted by the Committee on National Reform, nearly six million pornographic files were available for downloading on one popular peer-to-peer network over a two-day period. Innocent searches for files using the names of popular cartoon characters, singers, and actors produce thousands of graphic pornographic images, including child pornography.

2. Users of file-sharing programs can unintentionally share private information. Installation and set up processes can be confusing and users can expose their entire hard drive. Unintentional file-sharing can open the doors for identity theft and consumer fraud. Documents found by the Committee on National Reform include:

-Completed tax returns with social security numbers, including the names and social security numbers of spouses and dependents;

-Medical records;

-Confidential legal documents such as attorney-client communications regarding divorce proceedings and custody disputes;

-Business files, including contracts and personnel evaluations;

-Political records, including campaign documents and private correspondence with constituents; and

-Resumes with addresses, contact information, job histories, salary requirements and references

3. File sharing is anonymous and can lead to the spread of viruses. Think of file-sharing sites as the whore houses of the Internet—you don’t know where the computer you are downloading from has been.

4. There are legal penalties involved with file sharing.

Commitee on Government Reform Reports:

Children's Exposure to Pornography

Privacy and Security Risks