By Dibya Sarkar
Apr. 13, 2006
Fearing that state computer systems will be jeopardized, Texas state
technology officials are planning to restrict the use of peer-to-peer
file-sharing applications among agencies, departments, boards and
Gov. Rick Perry issued an executive order April 5 directing the state
Department of Information Resources to devise a policy prohibiting the
unauthorized or illegal use of such software programs and also
permitting their use for government business and law enforcement
purposes that won't pose a risk to computer systems.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) software, such as Napster, Kazaa and Grokster,
allows Internet users to search, download and share files -- usually
music, videos, software and other types of media files -- directly
from one another's computers. As opposed to a traditional
client-server model, P2P networks are composed of nodes that serve as
clients and servers to other nodes on the network.
Perry's executive order states that "without adequate protections and
procedures in place, the use of peer-to-peer file-sharing software can
result in the presence of viruses and malicious programs on state
information management system computers and networks, and consume
network resources, resulting in the creation of inefficiencies in the
performance of those systems."
Any statewide policy, however, would not apply to the legislative and
judicial branches or to the state's constitutional officers, although
they could adopt it, the executive order states.
Other state governments have enacted similar P2P use policies.
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