Senate piracy blockade goes internal

Sergeant of Arms office targets file-swap sites

WASHINGTON — Cleaning up its own back yard, the Senate has blocked access to Internet file-swapping sites popular for downloading pirated pics.

In a July 1 memo, the office of the Sergeant of Arms said staffers and solons would no longer be able to visit such sites as Gnutella and Morpheus, citing both security and copyright concerns.

“Our security evaluation concluded that continued use of peer-to-peer client software and networks is an unacceptable operational risk to the Senate and can impact the ability of the Senate community to carry out its core mission,” the memo said. “Therefore, effective immediately, the Senate Sergeant of Arms has blocked connections to these networks.”

More than once, Motion Picture Assn. of America Jack Valenti prexy-CEO has targeted Gnutella and Morpheus as chief culprits in the file-swapping of illegal films. As with Napster, computer users visiting Gnutella and Morpheus can often find pirated pics to download.

The Sergeant of Arms wasn’t concerned only with protecting Hollywood and copyright laws. Senate technology staff also concluded downloading material posed a risk for spreading viruses, as well as the possibility of exposing sensitive Senate information.

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