An academic study of 22,484 porn sites, conducted by researchers from Microsoft, Carnegie Mellon, and the University of Pennsylvania, has found them to be riddled with web trackers, including trackers from Google, Facebook, and Oracle.
This study, found 93 per cent of adult web pages leaked data to third parties.
Out of the adult sites analysed, 74 per cent contained Google trackers, 24 per cent had Oracle trackers and 10 per cent had Facebook trackers. Apparently, individuals who use incognito mode to browse porn are still vulnerable to trackers leaking their data.
According to this research, published in a forthcoming New Media & Society paper obtained by The New York Times, an alarming 17 per cent of the porn sites were found to be encrypted, leaving users at risk of being hacked.
Lead study author Dr. Elena Maris – a postdoctoral researcher at Microsoft – told The New York Times:
”These porn sites need to think more about the data that they hold and how it’s just as sensitive as something like health information.
Protecting this data is crucial to the safety of its visitors. And what we’ve seen suggests that these websites and platforms might not have thought all of this through like they should have.
The fact that 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.”
Furthermore, this information is said to present a ‘unique and elevated risk’, with 45 per cent of the surveyed porn site URLs pointing to the nature of the pornographic content.
These URLs could reveal a person’s sexual preferences in a way which could be used against them, potentially endangering LGBTQ+ individuals in places where same sex relationships are illegal.
A Google spokesperson told UNILAD:
”We don’t allow Google Ads on websites with adult content and we prohibit personalised advertising and advertising profiles based on a user’s sexual interests or related activities online.
Additionally, tags for our ad services are never allowed to transmit personally identifiable information to Google.”
There are no comments, yet, from Oracle and Facebook.