Years ago, sites such as Napster were huge for sharing music and then on to movies.  Recently, people have turned to torrents and services like Limewire.  For our parent readers, and those not heavily technical, Limewire let’s people share videos, pictures, music and more from their local computers.  When you search for a file, it will attempt to get parts of the file from may computers at once, usually much faster than you could from one place by itself.

This type of P2P (peer to peer) sharing is very useful and in many circumstances legal.  However, it seems it is possible unexpected files are being hidden in what people are sharing and inadvertently downloading.  Let us take the recent story of Matthew White in Sacramento.  He said he was using Limewire, and yes, attempting to download a copywrited movie.  This would be illegal.  But what he did find is that he downloaded numerous child pornography pictures with it.  He claims to have promptly deleted them and never thought about it again.

However, simply deleting a file from your computer does not really remove it totally and he learned this a year later.  You can read the rest in the article linked above.  He also did not overwrite his open areas of his computer with software that would erase any traces.

The point of this article, is to explain quickly about the dangers of letting your kids use these P2P network, either with approval or unknowing.  Many of you have not only allowed your virus subscriptions to expire, but have no way of inspecting the total content found on your computers.  With the recent movements of the recording industry and other organizations looking for illegal copywrite content, they are already watching to see who downloads movies and music.  Add in the FBI and other government offices, and they are watching for illegal content to be downloaded.  Sometimes both these types are creating what is called “honeypots“.  Or computers sharing illegal files to see who goes after them to download them.

Once you have attached to and taken the file, they log your address of your computer and proceed to contact the Internet providers to find you and your computer.  Basically reverse tracking.  It is the hidden danger of what you have saved locally to your computer, or that your kids have saved.  They will hold the adult responsible for the content when a minor is involved.

So it is in your best interest to remove these sharing services, like Limewire, from your computers and remove all traces of the illegal files.  You never really know what is contained in them or where they were downloaded from with these services.

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