An Iowa State University engineering professor will testify before a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on what are called peer-to-peer Internet networks. Doug Jacobson says the peer-to-peer networks let computer users share information without a network server. He says the networks are pervasive and anytime you’re hooked up to the Internet you can join one of the networks just by using the proper software. Jacobson says studies have shown the top information now being shared on the peer-to-peer networks is pornography — which is why the Senate is holding hearings on the issue. He says they’re looking at things they might do for people who don’t want to see pornography on their computers at home or at work. He says some of the peer networks have been working to circumvent filter mechanisms. Jacobson will try to give the Senators some advice on handling pornography on the peer-to-peer networks.He says his expertise is in security on peer-to-peer networks. He says stopping the information on the networks isn’t easy.He says the problem with peer-to-peer is that almost all of the content is encrypted and you can’t tell what type of material is being transferred, so many companies shut down all peer-to-peer networks to keep out porn. Jacobson says there needs to be more public education about the potential problems with the networks. He says the public needs to be aware that not only can you gather information, you can also leave your computer open to share your information, and you can gather information that you don’t want, such as porn. Jacobson will share his expertise with the Senators today (Tuesday) in Washington, D.C.
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