Vast majority of porn sites use Google Analytics and Facebook embeds that track you, even in incognito mode

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/07/19/kompromat-r-us.html

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Commenting here might indicate that I’ve actually watched porn, which of course I haven’t.

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Firefox already explicitly warns that Private Windows do not make you anonymous on the internet:

You’re in a Private Window

Firefox clears your search and browsing history when you quit the app or close all Private Browsing tabs and windows. While this doesn’t make you anonymous to websites or your internet service provider, it makes it easier to keep what you do online private from anyone else who uses this computer.

Common myths about private browsing

[emphasis added]

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I am also concerned about this stuff when it comes to health related internet browsing. I imagine a bleak future where the research I did last year on, say, “symptoms of high blood pressure” will eventually be channeled to insurance companies who can argue that it hints at a pre-existing condition, thus denying me insurance payouts in old age.

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It is actually pretty clear. Google offers data analytics services to website owners. Websites owners then put the coded needed to track users via Google’s data analytics on all of their web pages. Google isn’t doing this, per se, website owners are doing this using Google’s tools. And even if Google doesn’t let them display Google ads, Google still wants to know as much about global web traffic as possible as Google is competing for a limited share of wallet with other entertainment service provides, which includes providers of pornography.

Sure, but few users realize the they’re “visiting” third-party sites like Google, Facebook, and Oracle when they think they … navigate to … site that isn’t one of those companies.

True, and jaded as I am I’m still surprised when competitors use each other for tracking and advertising. It still seems odd to me to see Facebook, which uses essentially no 3d party scripting on it’s site, incorporating Google’s Doubleclick tracking on FB even as they are competitors in tracking and advertising. And even with all my inconvenient tracker blacklisting and 3d party script blocking, I still get targeted FB ads based on my Amazon browsing… :-/

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Ahaha losers!

*Swiftly deletes internet browsing history *

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Just use NoScript. No site I visit has google-analytics or facebook dot net enabled for Javascript.

I mean, it’s not just porn sites that use those trackers…

Gasp – boingboing does it also!

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I have and this upsets me! And not in a sexy way!

My ad blocker blocks google analytics, and I ditched Facebook 2 years ago. Nice try, Pornhub.

All the incognito mode does is keep your wife or your kids or your computer tech from seeing what kinks you’re into. I can’t tell you all the surprising things that I’ve found in the browser cache on computers belonging to people that I used to respect.

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For those of you with a dedicated server somewhere, Outline VPN is a great, easy to setup tool you can give to anyone who you trust to run via your IP:

https://getoutline.org/

We use it at Boing Boing, and it’s been heavily audited (and is otherwise FLOSS). Clients for all major desktop/mobile OSs.

It does require you having a server somewhere so the use case is limited, but it will let you control your own traffic without fear of your VPN provider logging.

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We tried to build a Discourse plugin that would track problem users (think vicious trolls) across incognito mode via complex browser fingerprinting and this is … honestly a much harder problem than you’d think. The main difficulty is mobile where devices tend to be quite uniform (iPhone / iPad in particular) and very locked down in terms of browser fingerprinting options.

We don’t see much future in it, the trend is clearly for browser vendors and mobile devices to continue to lock down on privacy and fingerprinting techniques, so my advice to the porn companies is… uh… good luck with that.

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Throughout human history there have been two types of people: those who admit to apprehending semiotic representations of nekkid people…and liars. :wink:

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I would guess that advertising and blocking trolls are very different needs. The advertiser only needs to see at least some of your browsing to benefit, whereas you need 100% effectiveness to block a persistent vicious troll.

Panopticlick can track me uniquely in Safari desktop, and even mobile safari with blockbear and Firefox focus installed. Even in private browsing mode on both I still have some 16 bits of unique information.

Surely that’s enough information to at least indicate if a user is suspicious?

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Not in our experience actually trying it, no. Tons of false positive matches on mobile and iOS specifically.

If you limit yourself to desktop / laptop it works OK, but the writing is on the wall here based on current browser software trends.

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