Your XXX Searches Aren’t Private, And Here’s Why Everyone Is At Risk

It’s no secret that major websites track your clicking habits — anyone who has ever searched for a few fantasy purchases on Amazon has had to deal with the barrage of annoying product-specific emails (no, we’re not actually in the market for a $40,000 TV).

But as the expectation of privacy online is on a rapid decline, what does that mean for our more, shall we say, intimate browsing behaviors? And no, we don’t mean those searches for “how to plan the perfect date.”

Some web experts predict that our porn searches could likely be the next frontier of embarrassing (or in more dire cases for LGBT people, dangerous) personal data hacking.

“If you are watching porn online in 2015…you should expect that at some point your porn viewing history will be publicly released and attached to your name,” software engineer Brett Thomas writes in a recent blog post titled Online Porn Could Be The Next Big Privacy Scandal.

“In 2014 a set of celebrities had naked photos released to the public, a deeply disturbing event that was fantastically labeled ‘the fappening.’ Many people brushed off the episode – oh well, I’m not a celebrity,” he continues. “But I think the next big internet privacy crisis could expose the private and potentially embarrassing personal data of regular people to their neighbors…”

Considering that many LGBT people still live in areas where their sexual identity is a crime, the unmasking of adult searches could pose a threat that far exceeds embarrassment.

To be fair, in a statement to Vice, adult mega-site Pornhub called Thomas’ conclusions “not only completely false, but also dangerously misleading,” adding that, “Pornhub’s raw server logs contain only the IP and the user agent for a very limited time, never a browser footprint.”

Still, that’s just one response form one company, and Vice notes that 88 percent of the top 500 porn sites have tracking elements installed.

And if you think that browsing in “incognito mode” does you any good, think again.

“Incognito mode does virtually zero to stop this tracking, and at best your address bar won’t auto-complete to something embarrassing,” says privacy researcher Tim Libert. “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.”

Thomas isn’t ultimately concerned about the potential threat, though it seems only because the stakes wouldn’t be very high if his private sexual desires were made public.

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

Could the same be said of you?

Source:: Queerty

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