U.S. Congress employees are just like us! Report of illegal downloads at work surfaces

u s congress employees downloaded illegal material online says report torrentWell, this is certainly embarrassing. According to an online report by U.S. News and World Reports, employees at the U.S. House of Representatives have been illegally downloading copyrighted material including television episodes and movies at work for some time, despite the representatives themselves pushing anti-piracy legislations such as the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

The report tracks information from October and November of last year, showing that IP addresses related to Congressional offices downloaded such movies as The Cabin In The Woods, The Queen of Versailles, Life of Pi, and The Dark Knight Rises, as well as episodes of multiple television series including Boss, Downton Abbey, Supernatural and Glee (One of the more surprising things from the report is the number of times Home and Away, an Australian soap opera, appears on the list of downloaded shows; someone, somewhere, apparently really liked that show).

Moreover, the U.S. News piece suggests that the shows and movies listed may not even be a complete list of all pirated material downloaded during that period by Congressional workers. “The report does not include IP addresses associated with every congressional office, so the number of illegal downloads may be higher,” it says.

There are multiple reasons why we shouldn’t be surprised about this – “Congressional workers are people too, after all, why shouldn’t they torrent stuff just like everyone else?” you may find yourself thinking. But one of the biggest reasons you might have expected this was that the TorrentFreak blog already outed the U.S. House of Representatives as a hotbed of torrenting in December 2011, noting that such books as How to Answer Hard Interview Questions And Everything Else You Need to Know to Get the Job You Want and Do Not Open – An Encyclopedia of The Worlds Best-Kept Secrets were apparently proving popular at the time (the jokes write themselves, don’t they?), along with pornographic videos with explicit titles like Gangland Cream Pie 21.

The hypocrisy of working to support legislation that would tighten control over copyrighted material online while simultaneously helping yourself to the latest episode of your favorite teen soap opera is the most obvious thing to come from the publication of this report, and also the most damning thing. But what fascinates me about this more is the idea that these congressional workers are torrenting movies and shows on their work computers. Perhaps I’m simply particularly naive or innocent, but couldn’t they just want to do that at home and risk a more private embarrassment? Are they actually going to watch this bootlegged material at work? Shouldn’t they be, I don’t know, working instead? Maybe this is too much to expect.


Apple Maps boosts Flyover locations, indoor mall maps, and more

In a boost for Apple Maps, the tech company has recently added more than 50 new locations for Flyover, the feature that offers spectacular 3D photo views of particular cities and famous landmarks around the world.
Home Theater

Looking to cut cable? Here’s everything you need to know about Pluto TV

Pluto TV offers plenty of entertainment in a fashion similar to live internet TV services, only at no cost — you don’t even need to register. Too good to be true? Here’s everything you need to know.
Home Theater

New TV? Here's where to go to watch the best 4K content available

Searching for content for your new 4K UHD TV? Look no further. We have every major source of the best 4K content, along with the cost, hardware requirements, and features that make each service worth a look.
Movies & TV

From premiere date to footage: Here's all we have on 'Game of Thrones' season 8

With the eighth and final season looming, Game of Thrones fever has officially become a pandemic. Our list of all the relevant news and rumors will help make the wait more bearable, if you don't mind spoilers.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Norsemen’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.

Make a GIF of your favorite YouTube video with these great tools

Making a GIF from a YouTube video is easier today than ever, but choosing the right tool for the job isn't always so simple. In this guide, we'll teach you how to make a GIF from a YouTube video with our two favorite online tools.
Smart Home

Booth babes, banned sex toys, and other mishaps at CES 2019

From female sex toys bans, to fake Tesla/robot collision stories, there was some weird stuff going on at CES 2019 this year. Here are some of the biggest mishaps and flubs at the world's biggest tech show.

Google has found a clever way to make your search history more useful

Google has found a clever way to make more use of your search history by showing links to pages you've visited before. Ideal for repeat searches for the same page, the links show up on cards at the top of mobile search results.

Shutdown makes dozens of .gov websites insecure due to expired TLS certificates

The US government shutdown is causing trouble in internet security. As the shutdown enters day 22, dozens of government websites have been rendered insecure or inaccessible due to expired transport layer security (TLS) certificates.

Our favorite Chrome themes add some much-needed pizzazz to your boring browser

Sometimes you just want Chrome to show a little personality and ditch the grayscale for something a little more lively. Lucky for you, we've sorted through the Chrome Web Store to find best Chrome themes available.
Social Media

A quick swipe will soon let you keep bingeing YouTube on mobile devices

The YouTube mobile app has a new, faster way to browse: Swiping. Once the update rolls out, users can swipe to go to the next (or previous) video in the recommended list, even while viewing in full screen.

Cathay Pacific messes up first-class ticket prices — again

A couple of weeks ago, an error on Cathay Pacific's website resulted in first-class seats selling for a tenth of the price. On Sunday, January 13, the airline made the error again. The good news is that it'll honor the bookings.

Reluctant to give your email address away? Here's how to make a disposable one

Want to sign up for a service without the risk of flooding your inbox with copious amounts of spam and unwanted email? You might want to consider using disposable email addresses via one of these handy services.
Social Media

YouTube to crack down on dangerous stunts like the ‘Bird Box’ challenge

YouTube already bans content showing dangerous activities, but new rules published by the site go into greater detail regarding potentially harmful challenges and pranks, including certain blindfold- or laundry detergent-based stunts.