Too Much Sharing About File Sharing


Responding to ongoing concerns about copyright violations taking place on campus networks, a House subcommittee requested that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) conduct a survey to determine what steps are being taken to address the issue. Unlike other GAO surveys, however, this one does not guarantee confidentiality of respondents, and this has many observers concerned that the response rate will be so low as to render the results misleading or wrong. When contacted about the apparent lack of confidentiality, officials at the GAO confirmed that the House subcommittee had insisted that data on individual institutions be identified in the results, though it was not clear whether those data would be made public. Officials representing the higher education community noted that even when an institution has nothing to hide, knowing the responses will be attached to individual schools tends to discourage participation.

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