Accusations of illegal data collection have been leveled against Pornhub.

 Pornhub, one of the largest websites on the internet, is currently facing legal challenges in Europe regarding its data collection practices. With over 2 billion monthly visitors spending an average of nearly eight minutes per visit, the platform generates substantial amounts of data. Activists and researchers have lodged a complaint in Italy against Pornhub, accusing the company of illegally handling the data of millions of individuals. This complaint builds upon previous unreported grievances in Italy and Cyprus, where Pornhub is legally based in Europe. The allegations contend that the company violates the strict General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules that govern the appropriate use of individuals' data.


According to Alessandro Polidoro, a lead attorney and digital rights activist involved in the litigation, Pornhub fails to provide an easy opt-out mechanism for cookie tracking, lacks transparency about data sharing with third parties, and utilizes its algorithm to ascribe users' sexual preferences based on their viewed videos without obtaining explicit consent. The legal complaints, which may take several years to resolve, come at a time when the online adult industry is facing increased regulatory scrutiny worldwide, with governments implementing content blocks and requiring ID verification for accessing adult material.

Polidoro emphasizes three key areas of concern in relation to GDPR compliance. Firstly, Pornhub does not adequately seek consent for tracking users, which is a requirement under privacy laws in Europe. Unlike many websites that display cookie popups providing clear options for acceptance, rejection, or customization, Pornhub's banner at the bottom of the page merely mentions the use of cookies without providing an option to prevent tracking. Secondly, there are concerns about the transparency of data sharing between Pornhub and other businesses under its parent company, MindGeek, which is based in Canada. Finally, the complaints argue that Pornhub unilaterally assigns sexual preferences to individuals without their knowledge, resulting in a customized content experience based on a small number of previously watched videos.

Tools that monitor website trackers reveal that Pornhub's data is transmitted to Google through its analytics platform and tag manager, as well as to TrafficJunky, an advertising platform owned by MindGeek. One tracking technology employed by Pornhub stores video IDs on users' devices, creating a parallel search history, even if users are not logged into the platform. MindGeek has declined to comment on the ongoing litigation, stating that the company is committed to protecting user privacy and continuously implementing measures to safeguard personal data.

While Pornhub's privacy policy outlines the data it collects and its uses, experts argue that the average user is unlikely to carefully review this information. Researchers have previously found that a significant proportion of porn websites leak data to third parties and employ tracking cookies, with Google's trackers being prevalent on most sites. The recent complaints against Pornhub shed light on the data collection practices of pornography websites and raise concerns about their handling of personal information. Users can employ privacy browsers or browser extensions to limit data collection and tracking.

Note: The original article has been abridged and restructured for clarity and conciseness.