EPIC warns colleges against P-to-P monitoring

A Washington, D.C., privacy group is taking aim at the music industry's efforts to enlist schools in monitoring students' peer-to-peer (P-to-P) file trading activities, sending out a letter to college and university presidents this week calling the surveillance "inappropriate" and "incompatible with intellectual freedom."

"Monitoring chills behavior, and can squelch creativity that must thrive in educational settings," the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) wrote in the letter Wednesday.

EPIC's missive comes in response to another letter sent out to more than 2,300 colleges and universities by the Recording Industry Association of America Inc. (RIAA) and other industry groups last month, asking the schools to help monitor whether students are committing copyright infringement through P-to-P file trading over their networks.

The RIAA has recently heightened its efforts to crack down on P-to-P piracy, given the rapid decrease in record sales over the last year, which has been pinned on copyright infringement through P-to-P trading.

But despite the music industry's concerns, EPIC warns against shifting the burden of content protection to academic institutions which already have scarce resources and staff to cope with traditional network issues. Furthermore, the group opined that universities should not "adopt a confrontational role with respect to these technologies" because it could lead to an escalating network "arms race" that could potentially harm the network's overall performance.

While the group acknowledged that network monitoring for bandwidth management is appropriate, it added that "the monitoring of individuals' activities does not comport with higher educational values."

However, RIAA President Cary Sherman responded saying,"I don't think anyone needs to lecture universities about academic freedom and respecting the First Amendment or privacy rights of their students."

The music industry has also pointed out that its efforts to raise attention to the problem of P-to-P piracy on campuses has garnered support from six education associations, including the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the American Council on Education.

But in a letter the educational groups sent to universities addressing the matter, they labelled the problem "an exceptionally complex topic," adding that "the policies to address peer-to-peer file sharing are likely to have implications for such basic campus values as personal privacy, free speech, and academic freedom."

EPIC's letter is just the latest lob in what has become a prolonged debate over the effects of P-to-P file trading. While content owners continue to joust with the digital piracy that sometimes accompanies P-to-P trading, groups like EPIC caution that the swapping method also has legitimate uses.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Scarlet Pruitt

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?