The company that provides the LimeWire file sharing services, Lime Group, LLC, recently settled with the Maryland Attorney General, agreeing to notify Maryland residents about the privacy risks associated from its file sharing service, and agreeing to take best efforts to prevent privacy risks. The Maryland Attorney General began an investigation into LimeWire, alleging that the file sharing service had allowed the inadvertent sharing of private information on consumer’s hard drives, potentially compromising consumer social security numbers, tax records, health records, private family documents, or media files. The AG’s office alleged that when consumers updated to new version of the software the software may have retained the consumer’s file sharing index, making the consumer’s entire hard drive available for sharing by default. Under the settlement agreement, LimeWire will notify LimeWire uses that if they downloaded LimeWire software in the past, files on their personal computer or sensitive information may have been shared and the users should remove the software from their computers. Furthermore, LimeWire shall prominently warn consumers, via the landing page of their website and/or product download page, as well as in any images or statements presented during installation, that file-sharing software, products, and service often contain a risk of inadvertent file sharing, which may expose private or sensitive information contained on the users’ computer.
TIP: Companies should ensure that they review and understand system functionalities, and look for potential security lapses that could give rise to a potential breach incident.