Home' Teacher : April 2011 Contents 48 TEACHER APRIL 2011
Close to one in three school-aged kids regularly engage in the illegal downloading of music -- yet many
people are unaware of the inherent security risks and the need to respect the rights of creators. There are
significant risks associated with downloading music, particularly through peer-to-peer (P2P) networks. Schools
and teachers can play an important role in informing our young people about internet safety, avoiding piracy
and respecting creativity and copyright.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing means swapping music or other files on peer-to-
peer networks which connect millions of people worldwide. Users download
the P2P software on to their computer to link them to the network and
give them access to shared files, from shared folders on their hard
drives. The more advanced BitTorrent network has made file-
sharing quicker by enabling users to download chunks of a
file from multiple users all at once.
Many people don't fully understand the extent to which
file-sharing through P2P networks poses a number of
risks. Users mistakenly believe that connecting to a P2P
site is the same as connecting to a website. However,
these networks do not function like a centralised
web ser ver at all. Instead, they remotely con-
nect the hard drives of all users on the net-
work, which in the case of many P2P networks
is millions of computers, making any user's system
accessible by all other users of the network at that time.
This means that using P2P can expose children
to unwelcome content like pornographic or violent
images -- and filters that block offensive content on
the internet are not always effective in blocking this
material through P2P.
Using P2P networks can also expose comput-
ers to harmful viruses, worms and Trojans, all
of which compromise the computers security.
P2P networks have been known to create vul-
nerability to viruses that enable people to
control computers remotely, meaning that
computers can be controlled to send unso-
licited emails or spam without the knowl-
edge of the user.
It was against
MUSIC IS A MEDIUM THAT DEFINES AND UNITES YOUNG PEOPLE -- BUT
DOWNLOADING AND SHARING MUSIC IS NOT ALWAYS SAFE OR ETHICAL.
SABIENE HEINDL PROVIDES TIPS FOR TEACHERS TO HELP STUDENTS AVOID
PIRACY AND SECURITY RISKS.
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