Media

How Your Personal P0RN Habits are being Shared with the Entire Internet

By: Vandita via anonhq

In 2013, Internet p0rn generated more visitors each month than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined. In 2014, users watched 78.9 billion videos on P0rnhub, Internet’s largest portal of p0rn. In 2015, 25% of online search engine requests were related to sex — an estimated 68 million requests a day.

Bottom line: p0rn is the norm today.

BUT apart from being a public health crisis, according to American state of Utah, which recently endorsed “education, prevention, research and policy change at the community and societal level” to combat the “pornography epidemic” that is harming its people by creating a sexually toxic environment, p0rn could be the next big privacy scandal.

Yet, if you think your secret p0rn-viewing is secure and protected, you are grossly mistaken. Your personal p0rn habits are perennially on the verge of being leaked to the public; even casual hackers are capable of sharing your p0rn-viewing history with the entire Internet.

San Francisco-based software engineer Brett Thomas writes:

“If you are watching/viewing p0rn online, even in Incognito mode, you should expect that at some point your p0rn viewing history will be publicly released and attached to your name.”

So, basically if ‘they’ know how many men, women, and children are glued to the Internet; most searched terms on p0rn websites; and demographic distribution of p0rn lovers, they already know you, your IP address, and, most likely, they can easily access your computer.

Here’s How…

P0rn URLs

It is very easy to see exactly who is watching what on the Internet by just looking at the Uniform Resource Locators, or URLs. While P0rnhub and Redtube mask the nature of the videos being viewed with numerical strings, such as www.p0rnsite.com/watch_viewkey=19212, most of the top porn sites (like XVideos, XHamster, and XXNX) reveal the exact nature of the videos being viewed right in the URL, such as http://www.p0rnsite.com/view/embarrassing-form-of-…. Privacy researcher Tim Libert told VICE:

“The URL is one of the basic pieces of information in all HTTP requests, so whoever sneaks in their code [e.g., Google, Tumblr] on the page gets that by default. Purely numerical strings [e.g., ‘?id=123’] may not tell you what somebody’s particular sexual preferences are, but you know they are looking at a p0rn site. In contrast, really descriptive URLs can tell you exactly what somebody is into, so if it says something naughty, well, that’s not a secret anymore.

“Incognito mode does virtually zero to stop this tracking, and at best your address bar won’t auto-complete to something embarrassing, but advertisers and data brokers still get the information. I have no idea what, if anything, they do with it—but it’s all sitting in a database somewhere.”

Zero Traceability a Myth

P0rn websites may not necessarily be saving your data permanently, or tracking you for any malicious purposes; they may be doing it to increase the functionality and shareability of their web pages. By looking at what p0rn you like to watch, data brokers and web trackers may be using your data to improve the ads they serve on p0rn sites.

Whatever the case may be, you can’t be sure what exactly those third parties are doing with your data. And since it is incredibly hard to ensure zero traceability, if someone wants to take p0rn revenge, he/she can hack a p0rn website, and leak your credit-card and personal data for all to see. Remember the Ashley Madison hacking? Thomas told VICE:

 “Unfortunately anonymity is just fundamentally incompatible with Javascript and the open web. I’m perhaps fortunate that, were everybody’s p0rn preferences made public, mine would be on the less embarrassing side.”

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