Monday, February 26, 2024

Private Mode For Porn Isn’t Private From Everyone

A study shows not even your porn searches are safe from big corporations. Although we can’t be all that surprised, it still sucks to learn sites like Google and Facebook are able to know the type of porn you’re into, and might even use your preferences as a way of gaining profits.

These results—gathered by a study conducted by Microsoft, Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pennsylvania—state Facebook, Google and Oracle are secretly tracking your porn habits even when using the incognito tab.

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The study used a tool called webXray on over 22,484 websites, finding 93% of them sent their numbers to third party sites. “Revelations about such data represent specific threats to personal safety and autonomy in any society polices gender and sexuality,” say the authors of the study.

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Photo by Christin Hume via Unsplash

Unsurprisingly, Google had the strongest hold out of the three companies studied, with trackers on 74% of porn sites. Oracle had trackers on 24% of them and lastly, Facebook—a site which does not allow for nudity and porn on their services—had trackers on 10% of them. The study explains these corporations may do whatever they want with this data, selling it, inferring on your sexual preferences by the type of URL you use, and using this information as a way of building a more complete consumer profile of you. With all of this information in their hands, these websites have a more complete picture of who you are and a better grasp on targeted ads.

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“The fact the mechanism for adult site tracking is so similar to, say, online retail should be a huge red flag. This isn’t picking out a sweater and seeing it follow you across the web. This is so much more specific and deeply personal,” says one of the lead authors of the study in an interview with the New York Times. 

It seems like we’re all just a few keyboard types away from sextortions and really embarrassing sex scandals. At least we can find some modicum of peace in knowing we’re all kinky and not alone.

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