New study shows which companies are tracking the porn you watch even when browsing incognito


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According to a new study, Facebook, Google, and Oracle are tracking the porn you watch. The New York Times recently reported on the study conducted by researchers from Microsoft in Carnegie, Mellon and The University of Pennsylvania where they analyzed 22,484 pornography sites using a tool called webXray to try and identify tracking systems that may be feeding personal data back to third parties.

What they found came as no surprise – the majority of porn sites are, in fact swarming with web trackers namely from Google, Facebook and Oracle. An incredible 74% of the sites were found to have Google trackers, 24% had Oracle trackers and Facebook was found tracking data on 10% of the sites. That translates to approximately 16,638 sites with Google trackers, 5,396 with Oracle, and 2,248 for Facebook.

Our results indicate tracking is endemic on pornography websites – 93% of pages leak user data to a third-party. The fact that the mechanism for adult site tracking is so similar to, say, online retail should be a huge red flag.” Researcher, Elena Maris

What’s worse is that the study found that browsing incognito didn’t stop companies from collecting your data and that at least 17% of the surveyed porn sites were not at all encrypted leaving users vulnerable to hackers.

While both Google and Facebook have claimed that data from trackers on these sites were not used to build marketing profiles of users, exactly what happens to the data, or which data is being collected, is still unknown.

Related | Watch the groundbreaking trailer for Netflix’s controversial new documentary ‘The Great Hack’ [airs today on Netflix]

 


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