Attorney General Gansler Reaches Settlement with LimeWire
Companies Agree to Warn Consumers Regarding Sharing Private Information
MD ( July 7, 2011) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that his Consumer Protection Division has resolved an investigation into LimeWire, the popular peer-to-peer file-sharing software that has been widely used by consumers to share media files via the Internet. The Division alleged that several versions of LimeWire contained features that left consumers vulnerable to the inadvertent sharing of private information on their home computers. The software potentially compromised consumers' Social Security numbers, tax records, health records, or private family documents and media files (family videos, etc.). The Division further alleged that the makers of LimeWire failed to adequately warn consumers about these privacy risks.
“I'm pleased this investigation has produced greater protections for Maryland consumers against a vulnerable point of entry into their home computers,” said Attorney General Gansler. “When opening your computer to online sharing, you should be as careful as when you're opening your home to strangers. Always protect access to your private or sensitive information from those you don't know or trust.”
Under the settlement, the makers of LimeWire software, Lime Group, LLC, Lime Wire, LLC, and their former owner, Mark Gorton, agreed to provide notice to Maryland consumers explaining that file-sharing software, products, and services often contain a risk of inadvertent file sharing, which may expose private or sensitive information contained on the computers of users of that software, product or service.
The makers of LimeWire software also agreed to use best efforts to prevent file-sharing products they may create in the future from containing such privacy-risking features, and to deploy other features - like pre-sharing warnings and sensitive file extension checks - that reduce or prevent the risks of inadvertent file sharing.