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House of Representatives blocks Spotify on its computers, citing P2P security concerns

House of Representatives blocks Spotify on its computers, citing P2P security concerns


Chief Administrative Officer says the streaming service violates longstanding ban on file sharing technology

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Concerns over data security have led the House of Representatives to ban the use of Spotify among its members. As Politico reports, the music streaming service appears to have run afoul of an older ban on P2P technology. Implemented during the Napster era, the rule was originally designed to guard against illegal file sharing and to prevent malware from infecting House computers.

"To help protect House data, our IT policy generally prohibits the use of peer-to-peer (P2P) technologies while operating within the secure network," a spokesman for the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) told Politico. "While Spotify is currently not authorized, the CAO has and will continue to work with outside vendors to enable the popular services that improve member communication capabilities."

"Music is a common language that all political parties speak."

"It is a sad day when a few bureaucrats can block our nation's leadership from enjoying free, secure access to over 20 million songs," a Spotify spokesman said. "Music is a common language that all political parties speak and should be used to bring the legislators of this great country together so they can solve the serious issues facing our nation." The spokesman also pointed out that both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney used Spotify as part of their voter outreach efforts during the 2012 presidential campaign.

"We truly hope the House of Representatives will see the error of their ways and stop blocking Spotify so that all of America can benefit from their collective joy of music," the company added.

Interestingly enough, even the RIAA thinks the House's ban is unjust, as Chairman and CEO Cary Sherman explained in a letter to the CAO last week. "These services are safe and secure, and assuring access to them not only respects the contractual relationship users may have with these services, but also achieves an important public policy goal of promoting legal, safe digital providers," Sherman wrote.

"We appreciate your need to ensure that the House network is secure, and we would welcome the opportunity to work with you to develop a new policy that ensures that users of the House network will be able to gain access to these new legal services."