Yupp, don’t shy away. There aren’t that many reasons for you, or anyone, to open up an incognito tab. But just because the private browser doesn’t stock up your kinky search history, it doesn’t mean that they’re not keeping an eye on it. In fact, there’s more to it than harmless surveillance. A new study has surfaced that explains how Google and Facebook are tracking your porn consumption – even on incognito tabs.
A team of researchers at Microsoft, along with Carnegie Mellon University and University of Pennsylvania worked on a joint study that sampled 22,484 adult content websites using tracking software to log on to the users’ browsing preferences. They found that 93 percent of these pornography websites tracked your data and sent it to an average of seven third-party organisations.
Elena Maris, the lead author of the study from Microsoft stated –
“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 authors used webXray, an open-source software tool, which detects and matches third-party data requests to scan sites. The study observed that Google had trackers on 74 percent of the porn sites. While, Facebook, where adult content or nudity on any of its platforms is considered a violation, had trackers on 10 percent of the sex websites scanned by the study.
“The fact that the mechanism for adult site tracking is so similar to, say, online retail should be a huge red flag,” Dr. Maris said. “This isn’t picking out a sweater and seeing it follow you across the web. This is so much more specific and deeply personal.”
Facebook and Google denied that potential information collected by their trackers on pornography websites was used for creating marketing profiles intended to advertise to individuals. But it still doesn’t clarify why would their trackers be found on adult websites, especially when it violates their platform policies.
The study also notes that nearly 45 percent of porn site URLs “expose or strongly suggest the site content”. Doing so risks revealing the visitor’s sexual identity, orientation, or interests to the third parties.
So, even if your mom or dad might not be viewing your internet history, it’s imperative for you to know, that someone is!