- (Photo: Reuters/Max Rossi)
The Vatican is addressing recent reports that several IP addresses that belongs to the Holy See was uncovered to have downloaded transgender pornography and other sexually explicit content.
The downloads were allegedly compiled from the file sharing website uTorrent, a popular destination for internet users to obtain and share copyrighted or pirated content.
The blog TorrentFreak recently published a report that accused computers with IP addresses located in Vatican City of downloading pornography. Rumors arose detailing that some priests were enjoying content that had yet to be released.
In order to track the destination of uTorrent website downloads, TorrentFreak contacted ScanEye, a website that tracks and analyzes online activity in terms of file sharing and downloads.
After compiling an extensive data list, ScanEye uncovered that computers with IP addresses found inside Vatican City were downloading western films like "Love Actually" and television programs like "The Americans."
Torrenting is a method of file sharing popular with illegal downloaders and other distributors of pirated content, given that the origins and pathways of the files in question are difficult to trace.
Content files with titles of the names of prominent adult film starts were also downloaded with some reports indicating that some of the alleged files included bondage, domination, sadism and masochism (BDSM) videos.
The Vatican is home to around 800 permanent residents, including Pope Francis, with the majority being comprised of Catholic Church officials, security and staff.
While the downloads were placed with IP addresses inside the Vatican, it does not prove that any church officials were the ones actually downloading such content. Those not directly employed by the Church as well as the Papal Swiss Guard routinely have access within the Vatican's walls.
Napster was known for using torrents for file sharing, but the majority of this type of file sharing usually takes place on web pages or on basic file-storage sites. This type of file sharing system has made it considerably harder for authorities to crack down on illegal downloading and distribution of pirated material.