The Federal Trade Commission has issued a Consumer Alert, “File-Sharing: A Fair Share? Maybe Not,” that warns consumers about a number of risks associated with file-sharing. Computer users who share files online have access to a wealth of information including music, games, and software. Users simply download special software that connects the computer to an informal network of other computers running the same software. Millions of users could be connected to each other through this software at one time. The software often is free and easily accessible. The alert, available at www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt128.shtm, points out that:
The alert lists suggestions to assist consumers to secure the personal information stored on their computers when using file-sharing software:
To order copies of this or other FTC Consumer Alerts, visit www.ftc.gov/bcp/online/pubs/bulkordr.htm. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint, or to get free information on consumer issues, visit www.ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure online database available for hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.