Researchers at Microsoft, Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of Pennsylvania have discovered that Internet giants Facebook, Google, and Oracle track the porn their users see even when they resort to incognito tabs offered by browsers.

In March 2018, researchers used a tool called webXray to analyze 22,484 web pages of pornographic content. The goal was to find tracking tools or software designed to provide navigation data to third parties.

As a result of this analysis, they discovered that Google and its affiliates have tracking code on 74% of porn sites, Oracle on 24% and Facebook on 10%, meaning that at least 16,638 of these sites have code from Google, 5,396 from Oracle and 2,248 from Facebook.

“These porn sites have to think more about the data they have and how it can be as sensitive as medical information,” says Elena Maris, a Microsoft researcher and lead author of the study. “The protection of these data is crucial to the safety of your visitors. And what we’ve seen suggests that these websites and platforms may not have thought about all this as they should have. The fact that a tracking mechanism is activated on adult sites very similar to that activated in online stores should be a great red flag,” says Maris. “This is not like picking out a sweater and watching it chase you across the web. This is much more specific and deeply personal”.

The situation is even more worrying, as the study has also revealed that only 17% of websites analyzed have defensive systems, which means the data of millions of Internet users are vulnerable to any type of computer attack.

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