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Pornhub changes the cookie banner after being accused of illegal data collection in Europe, but still fails to comply with GDPR.

Cristina POPOV

August 28, 2023

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Pornhub changes the cookie banner after being accused of illegal data collection in Europe, but still fails to comply with GDPR.

In June 2023, Italian digital rights activists and researchers filled a complaint against the company behind the adult website, accusing them of “illegally” collecting and handling the data of millions of people, according to their technical analysis of the website and its privacy practices.

Alessandro Polidoro, the lead attorney of the litigation, says that the group found “a lot” of potential issues with the way the company uses people’s data but has decided to focus on three areas.

1. Tracking users without their consent. The adult website just informed visitors through a banner that it used cookies without giving them the option to accept, reject, or customize them. Three weeks after the activist filed the complaint, the website changed the cookies banner, but with no “Refuse all” option or an X to close it, which still makes it non-compliant with GDPR.

2. Data collection and sharing with third parties. Activists say that the website shares data with an unclear number of third parties both external to the company and within its corporate conglomerate controlled by MindGeek, the holding that owns this platform together with approximately 170 other companies.

3. Unlawful profiling. The website is also accused of feeding the personal data obtained from its users to a recommender system that unilaterally assigns sexual preferences to each individual without their knowledge and not allowing anybody to contest this result.

This complaint draws attention to a bigger issue - the amount of data the adult websites collect and how they handle that information. In 2019, researchers analyzed 22,484 such websites and found that 93 percent of them leak data to third parties, 44.97 percent “expose or suggest” a gender or sexual identity that is likely to be linked to the user, and 79 percent used tracking cookies from outside companies.

Protecting Your Data

So, how can you protect your data? Here are some tips about how you protect your personal information against trackers, profilers and illegal data collections.

Use a VPN to avoid trackers and profilers: Bitdefender VPN hides your IP address and encrypts your internet traffic, providing an added layer of privacy and security.

Get Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection and find out if your personal information was part of any (i)legal data collections. Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection hunts down your scattered personal data for you — even scouring the dark web. You can see your digital footprint, and traces from services you no longer use but still have your data. So, you’ll finally know what sensitive info of yours is out there and where.

Read more about our identity protection and privacy solutions here.



Cristina POPOV

Cristina is a freelance writer and a mother of two living in Denmark. Her 15 years experience in communication includes developing content for tv, online, mobile apps, and a chatbot.

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