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These included increasing Internet bandwidth, the widespread digitization of physical media, and the increasing capabilities of residential personal computers. Users are able to transfer one or more files from one computer to another across the Internet through various file transfer systems and other file-sharing networks. Peer-to-peer file sharing technology has evolved through several design stages from the early networks like Napster, which popularized the technology, to later models like the Bittorent protocol.

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Although the disclosure numbers look comparatively small, files on P2P networks are accessible to millions of network users. The same study also showed that the P2P network users may not even be aware that the files can be read by all the peers.

ZapShares Inc. was founded in 2008 to develop innovative security and advertising solutions for P2P file sharing networks. ZapShares creates a Secure Vault which automatically stops files that are downloaded using P2P software from being shared with other P2P users. This allows the ZapShares user to continue downloading any files they want while protecting them against costly lawsuits. ZapShares also protects the user against identity theft by alerting them about any sensitive files they are accidentally sharing with other P2P users.

PHI refers to information about one’s health that can be discussed in a clinical setting . For example, in more than 3000 files exchanged on P2P networks, 5% contained either sensitive or sufficient information to commit medical identity theft, sometimes for thousands of individuals . In another study, the authors semimanually examined 859 files gathered from two P2P networks and found that 8 (1%) files contained PHI .

In this study, we have introduced P2P Watch, which detects PHI in files shared by users of P2P networks. Albeit the proportion of PHI files among P2P files is rather small, the overall problem is big, as by some estimates 50% of files downloaded and 80% of files uploaded on the Internet are through P2P networks. However, even one PHI file can do much harm, especially if it contains an exact pointer to a publicly available data base. At the same time, we empirically showed that traditional de-identification tools are not designed to detect PHI in P2P files. Evidence shows that files sent through peer-to-peer file-sharing networks can disclose an individual’s personal health information to millions of network users.

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Users can pick any combination of friends, groups of friends, etc. to share a specific file with, or can offer it up to the entire OneSwarm network. Because it’s running in a browser, the browser’s plugins allow content like music and video to stream while partially downloaded. Over the last few years, the popularity of peer-to-peer filesharing has exploded, leaving widespread filesharing lawsuits and traffic management policies in its wake. Some computer scientists at the University of Washington think they’ve overcome that in their new software, called OneSwarm, but they may have opened up a can of worms in the process.

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  • …or is it even possible to hook up a router onto my laptop while in a motel…thanks.
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In short, P2P file sharing is not simply a piece of “rogue technology” that enables “pirates” to infringe on copyrights. It is a diverse assortment of technologies and platforms with a broad range of uses in a variety of different contexts.

Popular programs and software for these activities have included Napster, Kazaa, Gnutella, LimeWire, Grokster, Morpheus, FastTrack, eDonkey, mIRC, and Bittorent. Having P2P file-sharing applications installed on a computer can easily result in sharing copyrighted works without even realizing it. Installing P2P software can downloaded software free cause a user to unintentionally share files with other P2P users, and the user may then be personally responsible for the legal and financial consequences. Many commercial filesharing services make few guarantees that the contents of shared files will perpetually remain off-limits to third parties. The social network aspects allow fine grained control over the sharing of files.