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File-sharing leads to child pornography charges in New Jersey, part two

Peer-to-peer networks expose everyone on the network to unexpected criminal liability and many other risks. The last post discussed what is happening to 27 people from New Jersey who allegedly used peer-to-peer networks (P2Ps) to share child pornography. While P2P users can unknowingly commit many possession and sharing crimes, there are other dangers to P2P use.

Many computers have file-sharing as the default setting, meaning that you have to actively disable it to prevent others from accessing your computer. It is important that you know the dangers of using P2Ps, so you can make informed decisions.

Here are 5 reasons you should disable file sharing on your computer:

  1. As discussed in the previous post, using a P2P network means you could accidentally download illegal material. If you accidentally downloaded child pornography, you are in possession of child pornography and have committed a crime that leads to severe punishments.
  2. When you file-share, you allow others to access your computer. If your computer has confidential documents, such as financial information, complete strangers on your network could access them.
  3. Viruses are also a huge concern. Others have access to your computer and you have access to files other people create. You could unknowingly download a file from someone's computer that has a virus encrypted.
  4. P2Ps could expose you to copyright infringement, as well as criminal charges. Limewire, a well-known file-sharing software company has been involved in multiple lawsuits involving copyright infringement.
  5. When it comes to your constitutional rights, they are limited in file-sharing. Police officers may not need a search warrant to open the files on a P2P network, which means you should be exceedingly careful about what information you put on a P2P and what information you download.

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