Pornhub is being accused of illegal data collection in Europe.


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Pornhub is being accused of illegal data collection in Europe.

A complaint has been lodged against Pornhub in Italy, alleging that the platform unlawfully collects and shares users’ personal information, including their sexual preferences, with undisclosed third parties.

The complaint asserts that this behavior violates the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Activist group StopDataPorn has initiated legal action, contending that platforms like Pornhub accumulate data about individual’s sexual orientation and trade it for financial gain.

The lead attorney involved in the litigation, Alessandro Polidoro, claims that such practices enable the creation of lists identifying people’s sexual orientation and intimate details that they wouldn’t even share with close friends.

The complaint against Pornhub alleges that the platform engages in unlawful profiling by collecting users’ personal data without obtaining proper consent as required by GDPR. The complaint states that the trackers used by Pornhub are difficult to remove and are designed to bypass any opt-out options.

According to the complaint, Pornhub shares user information with undisclosed third parties, both externally and within its parent company MindGeek’s corporate conglomerate, which is also in violation of GDPR regulations.

The lawsuit claims that Pornhub’s recommender system assigns users’ sexual preferences without their knowledge, solely for financial gain.

MindGeek, the parent company of Pornhub, has stated that it will not comment on the ongoing litigation and will respond through the appropriate legal process. They have also emphasized their commitment to protecting user privacy.

Apart from Pornhub, MindGeek owns several other popular pornography websites and production companies. Recently, it has been acquired by Ethical Capital Partners, a Canadian private equity firm.

StopDataPorn has officially reported Pornhub’s alleged misconduct to the Italian authorities, along with filing a complaint in Cyprus where the company is legally registered.

These complaints are based on research conducted by Tracking Exposed, a digital rights group. They used digital forensics tools to analyze Pornhub’s recommender system and published their findings in a peer-reviewed paper.

Tracking Exposed founder Claudio Agosti explained that their analysis involved scraping, a technique often criticized by corporations but deemed the most effective method for gathering digital evidence.

He stated that Pornhub’s recommendation algorithm, which holds significant influence, has not received adequate scrutiny despite the website’s immense popularity.

As per Similarweb, a web tracker, Pornhub ranked as the 12th most visited website globally in May, with the second highest number of visitors among adult websites. On average, users spent approximately 7 minutes and 40 seconds on the site.

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