Ever Pirate Music? The FBI Probably Won't Hire You.


Wait! Before you illegally download that copy of Justin Bieber's latest hits, you've got to know something: It could cost you a gig with the FBI.

TorrentFreak, a blog dedicated to all things copyright- and piracy-related, reported last week:

Monday this week Sacramento State's Career Center welcomed the FBI for a visit concerning recruitment of students for its paid internship program. One of the topics discussed were historical actions that could exclude applicants from the program.

In addition to drug use, criminal activity and even defaulting on a student loan, students were informed that if they had illegally downloaded content in the past, that could rule them out of a position at the FBI. It appears that to the agency, downloading is tantamount to stealing.

The student-run State Hornet spoke with an FBI representative, Steve Dupre, who says there's no point in lying about it:

During the first two phases of interviews, everything is recorded and then turned into a report. This report is then passed along to a polygraph technician to be used during the applicant's exam, which consists of a 55-page questionnaire. If an applicant is caught lying, they can no longer apply for an FBI agent position.

"If you are accepted to intern at FBI and fail the polygraph you can no longer apply to FBI again." Dupre said.

This policy isn't terribly surprising, since the FBI has gone after high-profile file-sharing sites like MegaUpload. Though, that doesn't mean it's a policy that makes much sense.

While the agency considers piracy "a growing threat," several studies have shown that musicians and entertainers actually benefit from the illicit distribution of their art. A 2012 survey found that 46 percent of all Americans illegally download copyrighted material, and among people aged 18-29, it's  70 percent. By barring young people who participate in an increasingly common activity, the FBI is limiting its own pool of technologically curious and savvy potential employees—just as it's doing by not hiring marijuana users. Whether the policy even works is up for debate, since it's been documented just how much members of the FBI (and Congress and the Department of Justice) like to snatch free copies of their favorite shows and movies, too.