Watching porn online has become more than acceptable in our society these days. Unfortunately, it is also of great interest to companies such as Google, Facebook, and Oracle. New research confirms most of the porn sites out there contain trackers, which seem to bypass a browser’s incognito mode. One’s online habits tell a lot about the user in question, that much is certain.
Viewing Porn Will get you Tracked
It should not come as too big of a surprise to learn some of the biggest technology companies in the world are actively tracking users in many different ways. Not only are they interested in one’s regular browsing behavior, but the Googles, Facebooks, and Oracles of this world also take note of when, where, and how often one watches porn online. Even when browsing in incognito mode, these companies will be able to track users accordingly, which is rather worrisome in its own regard.
A new study conducted by Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pennsylvania confirms one’s worst fears. They analyzed over 22,000 porn sites on the internet through a tool known as webXray. This tool allows them to identify tracking tools which are used by third parties to harvest user information. As it turns out, over 90% of the researched websites contain such trackers, which is a rather worrisome statistic. At the same time, this should not come as a complete surprise, given the popularity of watching of porn online in 2019.
The researchers also confirm over 70% of the trackers found on analyzed pages belong to Google, with Oracle coming in at 24% and Facebook with another 10%. Especially that latter company will create a fair few heated debates, given Facebook’s history of mismanaging user information and private data. Most people wouldn’t necessarily expect Facebook to put trackers on porn websites either, yet that is exactly what is happening these days.
The bigger concern is how users can turn on incognito mode and still be tracked. That in itself causes a lot of problems, as the data trackers embedded on these porn websites seem to share relevant information with third parties regardless. How that is possible, remains a bit of a mystery as of right now. From a privacy point of view, no one wants to see their porn browsing habits tracked in the same way as their online shopping. Unfortunately for them, that is exactly what is happening in this day and age.
Luckily, it would appear none of this information is used to build marketing profiles. A Google rep clearly stated they do not allow Google Ads on adult websites and prohibit personalized advertising profiles based on sexual interests. Facebook echoed this statement, albeit Oracle decided not to respond to these new findings in any way. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are using this data for marketing purposes, but it is something to keep in mind regardless.
The bigger question is why this type of activity is even contemplated by these companies in this modern day and age. Especially given the scrutiny that most tech companies face regarding user privacy these days, one would expect them to take notice and step up their game in a positive manner. Unfortunately, it seems all of the scrutiny has triggered the opposite effect. A very problematic situation ensues, as this type of behavior should be punished by any means necessary.
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