Here’s what Vatican City likes to pirate on BitTorrent


Last time we told you about what North Korea likes to pirate on BitTorrent, but now we have another location whose downloading habits you might be curious about –Vatican City.

As I’m sure you already know, Vatican City isn’t like most cities in the world. With a population of just over 800, and an area of 44 hectares, it’s recognized as the smallest independent state in the world. Obviously we don’t know who exactly at the Vatican is doing the downloading (i.e. doesn’t necessarily need to be priests) but in terms of what’s being downloaded over there, we’ve got a little sample for you:


TV shows, unsurprisingly, are quite popular over at the Vatican. Shows like Chicago Fire and Lightfields make an appearance, both of which I haven’t personally seen so I won’t comment on their TV watching tastes. But here’s where things get a little steamy:


Surprise! And just like North Korea does, and every other place in the world for that matter, we’ve got some good old fashioned adult content. With names like Tiffany Starr and Sheena Shaw thrown in there, there’s no denying what these are. It’s just a little strange to see titles like that next to “Holy See – Vatican City State,” don’t you think?

What do you think of what’s being downloaded in the Vatican? Let us know in the comments!

[via TorrentFreak, image via Enrique Cornejo]

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  • Warb

    Ashraf & Enrique, don’t let negative comments discourage from this type of article. As you can see religion can be a touchy subject.

  • SilenceIsGolden

    [@Ashraf] Thanks for jumping in, Ashraf, and sorry to be absent for a while.
    Indeed, my #3 was meant as a joke, but only a small one.

    I don’t intend to enter into deep explanations, but I bristle at the word “prejudice” in conjunction with my “joke.” I’m gay myself, out and proud, and I wish everybody else were too — and wouldn’t feel the need to either hide or punish themselves for their all too natural feelings.

    There are many kinds of animals who are known to have gay relationships, but only one who is known to be homophobic — so which one is more natural…

  • Ashraf

    [@tj] Let’s agree to disagree.

    I love that phrase, by the way.

  • tj


    Yep. That’s what they all say – it was only a joke! Ha! Ha!

    You can certainly to post whatever you want on your site, and it is clear that you are not bothered about posting something that encourages prejudical remarks.

    Anyway, it’s your reputation, not mine.


  • thegreenwizard

    [@Ashraf] [@Ashraf]

    Well said!

  • Ashraf

    [@jsmitty] While I disagree with your overall sentiment, I agree with you — that line can be misinterpreted. Enrique has fixed it now, sorry about that.

    [@tj] In my book, there is a difference between joking and being prejudicial. You can joke without being prejudicial. Etim and V are clearly joking and have said nothing that any logical person would take as prejudicial, at least not in my view. I presume SilenceIsGolden is also joking but I can see where someone may take his/her comments as prejudicial against priests. I agree, prejudicial comments should not be posted.

    That said, however, it is illogical to say or ask us (or anyone, for that matter) to not post something because it may illicit prejudicial remarks by readers. That is, more or less, akin to censorship and I won’t have that. It is unfair to blame a website or news outlet for the actions of others; the people responsible for such prejudices are a) the people themselves who have the prejudices and make such remarks and b) the people responsible for giving birth to prejudices by their actions.

    I’ve admitted many times we made a few mistakes while writing this particular article. We have apologized and fixed those mistakes. However, nothing in this article is made-up or false; it is all facts as per publicly available records. To say don’t post this because of how people will react is, well, not dotTech.

  • kevbo

    I’d venture to guess that the Catholic Church’s massive cover-up of sexual abuse of young boys by priests has more to do with creating the prejudice you are referring to than this interesting report.

  • tj

    So, here’s proof that such articles will breed prejudice:

    SilenceIsGolden: 3. The lack of obvious gay porn make me think those are really just the lay people… ;-)

    etim: As long as they’re DLing a little porn then the world’s a safer place.

    V: I guess now we know why the Pope had to resign so quickly … downloading porn at work will get you every time.

    Still don’t see my point?

  • thegreenwizard

    I disagree with you. Torrent download is part of every day and I found interesting to see how “respectable people or organisations ” use it. Eventually that the same people who tell us don’t do it.
    What’s the deal to show that even in the Vatican they are people who do not follow the law? Maybe that would be another task for Francesco.

  • tj

    If you see SilenceIsGolden’s comments, you will notice that such articles will breed comments like that that is clearly intended to suggest that priests are gays.

    This is not about religious vs nonreligious folks (philosophically there is no such category), but about whether people should be encouraged to put out blanket prejudicial statements.

  • etim

    [@Seamus McSeamus] Well, I’m offended that you’re offended! (snicker)

  • Enrique

    I think anybody who knows someone with one of those names and has ever tried searching their names on Google knows they have a bigger problem than their names popping up here :)

  • Seamus McSeamus


    I am offended that you included the names of the adult actresses in your article. There are likely other people in the world named Tiffany Starr and Sheena Shaw, but now anyone who read your article and who also knows them will assume they are porn stars.

    /smartass off

  • Enrique

    [@etim] Well, he did have a point. And removing those things won’t really hurt.

    Don’t worry, it’s not like we’ll take down the article or anything like that :p Chill out!

  • etim

    [@Enrique] What? WHAT? So now edits occur on the fear of offending? Jeezusbuttfruck! ARRRGH!!

  • Enrique

    [@jsmitty] Hi there jsmitty! I’ve edited the article once again, and hopefully it doesn’t contain anything offensive to you any longer.

  • jsmitty

    [@RealBull] I already stated that this type of article is wrong regardless of whether it’s North Korea or the Vatican. I have DotTech as an RSS feed and I did not happen to see the other articles in question (I see only the last 3 articles at any given time).

    [@Ashraf] The article states , “You’ve got a ton of priests in the area, and it appears they might not see pirating movies and TV shows as a sin.” So yes, an assumption was made about priests.

  • etim

    HaHaHa! As long as they’re DLing a little porn then the world’s a safer place.

  • RealBull

    “And the people who do have an issue with this article, I ask why you didn’t voice your protest when we posted similar topics on other entities, like NK, FBI, Congress, etc.”
    I agree with you Ashraf, no one jumped in to defend North Korea, FBI, etc. on the same type of subject.
    Noticed that no one has answered you back on that question, too.
    But that is how most religious people who I’ve met are(noticed that I said “most”, so no stereotyping , here); when you point out some contradiction, they will make an excuse rather than live up to the contradiction. I bet if a priest’s name was shown on the IP address, they would still make an excuse to justify it.
    And I think you can have any article that you want on the site, it’s your site.

  • V

    I guess now we know why the Pope had to resign so quickly … downloading porn at work will get you every time.

  • SilenceIsGolden

    1. No matter who does the downloading at the Vatican — even I know that it’s possible to block torrents completely. They have full control over their servers. And I hazard to guess that only a fraction of torrents used these days is of legal content (i.e. large software distribution). So, if nothing else, even though the have a small area to cover, they aren’t concerned about anybody doing illegal activities on their domains/servers.

    2. What I wonder now, if they aren’t that technically versed (as it seems), maybe somebody actually hacked their way into their servers and/or just falsely claims to use their IP addresses (i.e. cloaks their own) and has a blast that those vids show up as being stolen from inside the Vatican.

    3. The lack of obvious gay porn make me think those are really just the lay people… ;-)

  • Seamus McSeamus

    Not that Ashraf needs me to defend him, but over roughly the past week and a half, this same general story has appeared on both Gizmodo and CNET. so dotTech isn’t alone in covering it. Personally, I find the inclusion of not-so-serious posts to be a nice diversion. If I only want dry, hard tech stories, there are plenty of places for that; the mixture here is a welcomed getaway.

  • Ashraf

    [@Ashraf] To be clear, I agree we made a couple of mistakes when writing this article. More specifically, that inaccurate statement regarding the video shop (which has now been removed) and not explicitly mentioning there is no way of knowing who is actually doing the downloading were mistakes that have now been rectified. Thank you jsmitty for pointing them out.

    However, I see no issue with the topic at hand. And the people who do have an issue with this article, I ask why you didn’t voice your protest when we posted similar topics on other entities, like NK, FBI, Congress, etc.

  • Ashraf

    [@jsmitty] No where in the article did Enrique accuse priests of downloading. He simply stated Vatican has a lot of priests. In any case, I’ve updated the article to make that clear.

    That said, I question your true intentions here. You did not say a word when the similar articles were written about other organizations. Based off your comments, my guess you are more offended by the fact that the topic at hand is the Vatican rather than the type of article.

    In either case, thank you for the feedback but I have no issue with such articles being posted on dotTech, call them what you will.

    [@tj] I respect your opinion but I disagree.

  • tj

    Ashraf, I like your site but I have to fully agree with jsmitty on this. It is only superficially related to tech – and it is primarily gossip.

    You’ll start to lose credibility if such articles keeps popping up here.

    Sorry, don’t mean to be nasty, but the fact that this was posted took me by surprise that a site taht wants to be taken seriously would bother with something like this.

  • tj
  • jsmitty

    [@Enrique] My issue isn’t with you, personally, but with the type of article. It’s sensationalist and misleading. It’s very short on actual facts. It doesn’t say who is downloading the questionable content (religious or lay) or how many individuals are involved. Yet you automatically assume “priests.”

    I can write an article titled, “Here’s what DotTechies like to pirate on BitTorrent” and throw in some details on a few individuals’ downloading habits. In reality, this, in no way, reflects on DotTech, or even most DotTechies. The title of the article, though, implies that entire organization and its members are guilty.

    This is regardless of whether it’s North Korea, Congress, or the Vatican.

    And yes, you probably caught me on a bad day!

  • Enrique

    [@Ashraf] Hey Ashraf, sorry about that! I would’ve fixed it if I had gotten to it earlier. I’ve made some further edits.

    [@jsmitty] Hey there! No need to be mean about it but I see your point and I apologize.

    I actually did a little reading outside of the source article but like everyone else, I’m not immune to mistakes. And I actually don’t think it’s surprising that porn is being downloaded, in fact I tried to say it was obvious that it would be one of the things being downloaded but maybe I could have phrased it better.

    I’ve made some further edits to the article and again, my apologies.

  • Ashraf

    [@jsmitty] You are right. Enrique messed up his facts regarding Flynn and his store; I’ve fixed it now.

    However, no need to throw a fit. This is related to tech and is of interest to our readers. Call it what you want but this type of content is more then welcome on a “tech website”.

    My guess is you are offended because Vatican is the topic of this article, because I didn’t see you say the same for the various other similar posts on North Korea, Congress, FBI, etc. If that is the case, calm down — no one is insulting you or your religion (assuming you are Catholic).

  • jsmitty

    I thought this was a tech site, and not a juvenile, rumor-mongering gossip site? Vatican City has over 4,500, mostly lay, employees. Is it really shocking to you that people, *gasp*, watch porn?!

    And if you’re going to write something entirely sourced from a TorrentFreak article, you may want to get your facts straight.

    Paul Flynn, his priest customer, and the monastery are located in IRELAND – NOT Vatican City.

    Enrique, I can’t wait for another unoriginal article of yours that’s based on hearsay and full of innuendo.