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Lawsuit against a porn site: eavesdropping on visitors

1 February 2011, by — admin ()

It’s not a secret that a lion’s share of viruses and other types of malware are contracted on sites featuring adult content – erotic and pornographic materials. However, major publishers rarely cross this line, as the risk of losing sales and reputation is too high.

Mainstream Media International, the owner of YouPorn, a popular porn “tube”, chose another way of making money on its visitors: theft of the users’ browsing history.

These activities became the ground for a collective lawsuit against the company filed by site visitors accusing the company of eavesdropping and violation of privacy. The lawsuit specifically stated that all monitoring was intentional and that the JavaScript that copied browsing history records was obfuscated.

Obfuscation is a method of making the source code of a program unreadable and extremely hard to analyze while completely preserving its functionality.

Information collected using such methods has its price and this price is quite high. Knowing what sites users visited and what content they viewed allows companies to create better targeted paid products or services.

As a rule, such statistical data are purchased by advertising companies and ad networks interested in improving the accuracy of their campaigns and serving more relevant ads.

If the suit is satisfied, Mainstream Media International can be seriously punished for violating a number of laws, including the federal computer fraud and abuse statute, the computer crimes law of California, the competition and consumer rights laws.


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