Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pennsylvania – in collaboration with Microsoft researchers – surveyed 22,484 Web sites using the WebXray tool to identify tracking tools for transferring user data to third parties.
The study found that Google has tracking software on 74% of pornographic sites, about 16638 of these sites, and that Oracle has 24% follow-up programs or 5396 sites. Facebook has tracking devices only 10% of pornographic sites, accounting for nearly 2448 sites.
The researchers warn that the very sensitive nature of data that is leaking from the use of people is a cause for concern. “The fact that the tracking of adults is very similar to online retail sales tracking, which should be a red line,” researcher Elena Maris told the newspaper.
The study also revealed that only 17% of pornographic sites are encrypted, which makes users extremely vulnerable to hacking.
What defense presented by Google and Facebook?
The Google Analytics program indicates that tracking software can be configured on sites for a variety of reasons. For example, traffic data is returned to websites so that they can monitor their traffic.
While Facebook offers sites the opportunity to include the “Like” feature of these sites, which allows them to participate again on Facebook. However, on the other hand, the process of collecting data on visitors to the site raises concerns and does not know exactly what happens afterwards.
Facebook and Google have stated that they do not use the information collected by pornographic site visitors to create marketing profiles.
A Google representative told Business Insider: “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. Additionally, tags for our ad services are never allowed to transmit personally identifiable information to Google“.
A spokesman for Facebook echoed the same statement in one of the Times’ newspapers, saying the company had prevented sexual sites from using Facebook tracking tools for commercial purposes, such as ads. While Oracle has not responded to several requests from the Times for comment.