The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued a consumer alert citing safety issues associated with p2p file-sharing. Here are the FTC's two main concerns when using file-sharing software like LimeWire:
- You may accidentally share files on your computer that you intended to be private.
- You may unwittingly or unknowingly download copyright material, pornography or viruses.
LimeWire responds to these concerns by educating users on how to protect themselves and their children from accidentally sharing or downloading the wrong files.
- Shared folders - You can control which folders and files are shared with other users of the Gnutella Network. If you're unsure of which folders are being shared, go to the Library tab and click on the Shared Files folder on the left side. If you see a folder or file you don't want to share, you can press the delete button to remove it.
- Pornography - Go to the Filters menu and choose Configure Content Filters. Click the Keywords button and check the box that says Ignore Adult Content. This activates LimeWire's Family Filter that examines and discarded files that may contain adult content.
- Spyware and Viruses - LimeWire proudly states that its software is spyware free, meaning that the company doesn't bundle third-party advertising software with its product. However, LimeWire warns against downloading files with a .exe, .vbs, .lnk, .bat, .sys, or .com extension because they could contain viruses or spyware. In the content filter, you can check a box to remove all such files from your search results.
- Shutdown and Startup - The FTC warning includes a recommendation to shut down file-sharing programs when you're not using them. In the Tools menu under Options (or on Mac, the LimeWire menu under Preferences), you can click on the System Tray tab to choose default shutdown behavior. LimeWire can either shutdown immediately or wait until all active downloads are done. In the same menu under the Advanced tab is a section for System Startup. Here you can decide whether you want LimeWire to launch automatically upon turning on your computer or not.
Now let's take a quick look at the future of LimeWire.