Google and Facebook Aware Of Every Porn You Watch- Study


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A new study that examines how tracking software made by tech companies like Google and Facebook is deployed on adult websites has revealed that Google and Facebook are tracking users’ porn viewing habits. This applies to even those using a browser in Incognito Mode.

In a shocking revelation, the study that analysed more than 20,248 pornography websites disclosed that that 93 percent of the sites included in the investigation leaked user browsing data to third-parties.

According to the study, the data collected is then used to create “detailed profiles” of user browsing habits, including personal information like sexual interests, which are often sold to companies for targeted advertising.

Also, the study notes that without using specialized software, it’s practically impossible for users to know when a porn site is tracking them. Privacy policies that might disclose such information were only available for 17 percent of the 22,484 sites scanned, and the authors say that when these policies are offered, they’re normally put in a way that it is unreadable to most users.

Most of the time, users are not aware the data is being collected. Google APIs, including those related to analytics, were found on 50 percent of the websites that were part of the study.

“Google refuses to host porn, but has no limits on observing the porn consumption of users, often without their knowledge,” the research team wrote in the paper.

The research findings indicate that Google runs tracking services on roughly 74 percent of the porn sites included in the study, while Facebook only ran trackers on approximately 10 percent.

While many assume that privacy or Incognito Mode prevents this sort of tracking, the features only stop browsers from saving user search history. This means that websites, ISPs, and other trackers are still aware of browsing habits.

“The user data often suggests or reveals gender/sexual identities or interests represented in the porn site URL accessed, and thus poses an additional risk if tracked and assumptions about users’ sexual identities/interests are linked to personal identifying information,” wrote the research team.

Regarding the report, a Google spokeswoman told The New York Times, “We don’t allow Google Ads on websites with adult content, and we prohibit personalized advertising and advertising profiles based on a user’s sexual interests or related activities online.”

The study was conducted by researchers from Microsoft, Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of Pennsylvania. The authors recommended that government regulation could help enforce new privacy norms adding that users must be made aware of the information they are revealing.

Featured Image Courtesy: tukesomalism.com

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