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Brea Bennett at Twistys

July 28, 2003 07:10am
Federal Act to Regulate Peer-to-Peer Sharing
Source: CNet
by: Lisa M Bowman

In a crackdown on the spread of pornography among underage surfers, a bill introduced late last week in the US would require file-swapping companies, such as Kazaa, to get parental permission before allowing minors to use their services.

The bill, called the Protecting Children from Peer-to-Peer Pornography (P4) Act would require the Federal Trade Commission to regulate peer-to-peer networks and take steps to ensure that children aren't accidentally coming across porn.

While many people use services such as Kazaa for downloading music they have also become a very popular source of hardcore pornographic images and videos.

The bill's sponsors said as many as 40% of all files traded on the networks are porn.

Republican sponsor Joe Pitts said in a statement: "Our legislation gives parents the tools they need to protect their children from pornography and threats to privacy posed by peer-to-peer file-trading networks. By working together to protect children, we are building a broad and bipartisan coalition."

The bill calls on the FTC to require peer-to-peer companies to get parental permission before minors use their services. It would also require peer-to-peer companies to honour the wishes of parents who have put a "do not install" beacon in their computers, indicating that they don't want file-swapping software on their children's machines.

However, such technology has yet to be developed, and it's unclear how such a beacon would work - a rare instance of legislation being one step ahead of technology.

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