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.


Zoom in on famous works through the Art Institute of Chicago’s new website

Art lovers, listen up. The Art Institute of Chicago has given its website a serious makeover with new features that let you get up close and personal with more than 50,000 artworks by famous (and not so famous) artists.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this fall with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Castle Rock'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we've put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

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

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.

Don't know what to do with all your old DVDs? Here's how to convert them to MP4

Given today's rapid technological advancements, physical discs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Check out our guide on how to convert a DVD to MP4, so you can ditch discs for digital files.
Movies & TV

Winter coming in spring? HBO reveals 'Game of Thrones' season 8 premiere date

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.

Will Chrome remain our favorite web browser with the arrival of newest version?

Choosing a web browser for surfing the web can be tough with all the great options available. Here we pit the latest versions of Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Edge, and Vivaldi against one another to find the best browsers for most users.

Over a million veterans now eligible for Comcast’s Internet Essentials program

Comcast's low-cost Internet Essentials program, which provides internet access for just $10 per month, has expanded to include U.S. veterans. One million veterans now qualify for the service.

Google’s Squoosh will get an image web-ready with in-browser compression

Google's latest web app development is an image editing and compression tool, Squoosh. In just a few clicks, it can take a huge image and make it much lighter and web-friendly, all in your browser.

Want to save a webpage as a PDF? Just follow these steps

Need to quickly save and share a webpage? The best way is to learn how to save a webpage as a PDF file, as they're fully featured and can handle images and text with ease. Here's how.
Social Media

‘Superwoman’ YouTuber Lilly Singh taking a break for her mental health

Claiming to be "mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted," popular YouTuber Lilly Singh has told her millions of fans she's taking a break from making videos in order to recuperate.
Smart Home

Amazon has a huge team dedicated to enhancing Alexa and Echo

An Amazon executive on Tuesday, November 13 revealed the huge size of the team that's tasked with developing the Echo, the company's smart speaker, and Alexa, the digital assistant that powers it.

Here's our head-to-head comparison of Pandora and Spotify

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.
Social Media

Going incognito: Here's how to appear offline on Facebook

How do you make sure your friends and family can't see if you're on Facebook, even if you are? Here, we'll show you how to turn off your active status on three different platforms, so you can browse Facebook without anyone knowing.

Our 10 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.