Are you breaking the law online? Talking Tech podcast – USA TODAY

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Hey there, listeners. It’s Brett Molina. Welcome back to Talking Tech. Have you ever done something online and thought to yourself, “Am I breaking the law here by doing this?” USA TODAY Tech columnist Kim Komando talks about this in a column that she writes for It’s titled, You might be breaking the law online and not even know it. She breaks down a few different examples of activities that can happen online that could maybe get you in trouble. I’ll outline two of them here and you can read the rest on her column.

The first one she gets to is getting movies for free. This one shouldn’t be a surprise, downloading a movie and frankly it could be anything. Downloading music, downloading books or whatever from a torrenting site is considered illegal because obviously it’s, you’re pirating content and creative works that aren’t yours and you haven’t paid for. So obviously that is something that you shouldn’t be doing. You don’t hear about it as much because you can pretty much stream anything you want. I still remember back in the time with Napster and all this other stuff. One of the big reasons people liked to download was because just the accessibility. It was just easier to have access to what you wanted.

Now, that it’s opened up and there’s more access to the things that you like, you don’t hear about that as much. But it still happens and still, people will go to sites. They’ll find movies that they can watch for free and they’ll go ahead and watch it. Kim talks about how not only could you get a warning from your internet service provider because you’re downloading stuff you’re not supposed to. The other thing to consider too, is using some of these torrenting sites you can actually get malware.

It’s not safe sometimes so you got to be careful. You got to … It can put you into trouble by trying to make these, get these downloads for free because you could end up downloading something that you really don’t want at all. The other one that she brings up and this one’s interesting because this has been I think a very common practice for all of us, is sharing passwords. Who doesn’t have a family member or a friend who maybe you have leant your Netflix password to? Or you’re borrowing someone else’s Hulu password, right?

Technically, according to Kim, you’re not supposed to do that. But again, she notes this in her column, don’t expect Netflix, excuse me, to hunt you down and find out why you’re watching Stranger Things on someone else’s account. It’s just one of those things. Also, too, I see this a lot with families too. You have a lot of younger folks. They might move out of the house and they might still have the Netflix password. So they hang onto it and they still use it. The parents are like, “Yeah, that’s whatever.”

So it is what it is, right? Honestly, I think that might be the more common use case for it is just those younger kids that move out and they’re using their parent’s account still, instead of getting their own. But that one’s interesting. Again, Netflix isn’t going to come look for you if you’re sharing a password. But still, interesting to note in Kim’s column, that was one of the activities. It’s something I hadn’t really thought about a lot. You can read more about some of the other activities that Kim mentions in her column on

Listeners, let’s hear from you. Do you have any comments, questions or show ideas, any tech problems you want us to try to address? You can find me on Twitter @brettmolina23. Please don’t forget to subscribe and rate us or leave a review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, anywhere you get your podcasts. You’ve been listening to Talking Tech. We’ll be back tomorrow with another quick hit from the world of tech.