Prohibition of running Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file-sharing applications

2012/05/01 by ITSRM

On May 1st 2012, this software restriction has been dropped as agreed by the Legal Service, and the departments and LHC experiments represented in the ITSRM.

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) applications are designed to share content between interconnected participants across the Internet. They are popular for sharing music, video, software and other data. Examples are:

  • KaZaA, Napster, Gnutella, Edonkey2000, Napigator, Limewire, Bearshare, WinMX, Aimster, Morpheus, BitTorrent, Emule, 1-Click Player, etc.
  • Internet TV / P2P streaming applications: e.g. Coolstreaming, PPlive, PPstream, TVAnts, Sopcast, QQlive, Feidian (Aka Boiling Point), PDbox, Pcast, PPTVS, Mysee, etc.
  • Skype IP telephony (see Restrictions on Skype)

Peer-to-Peer file sharing applications violate CERN's Computing Rules on file services in most configurations. File access must be protected from unauthorised use. Exchanging files with partners requires sufficient access controls to avoid exposing CERN to viruses or involving the organisation in illicit use, such as unauthorised storage or distribution of commercial software or copyright music. If the content of a file is not known in advance then some prior trust must have been established with the serving partner.

Personal use of Peer-to-Peer file sharing applications is not permitted at CERN. If Peer-to-Peer file sharing applications have been installed on CERN computers then they must be completely removed and the system secured. Peer-to-peer applications are known to be targets for viruses and some install spyware, software which can spy on your activity. Spyware is not removed by anti-virus nor by removing the peer-to-peer application. Unless you are sure that the computer has no viruses, spyware, or other intruder software likely to have been introduced by the peer-to-peer application, then you need to secure it by re-installing the system from scratch (

Users of privately owned computers must prevent Peer-to-Peer file sharing applications from using the CERN network and ensure that their computers do not expose CERN to security or privacy risks. This normally requires actions such as disabling non-essential applications, installing latest security patches and anti-virus updates and preventing exposures caused by spyware.

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If professional use is being considered then a prior security check is required before installation of the software. For this you must contact with details of your professional requirement, an endorsement from your group leader or experiment computing responsible, and details of how you will secure the software and ensure it complies with CERN's Computing Rules.