What do porn, javascript, and sniffing have in common?

What do porn, javascript, and sniffing have in common?

December 14, 2010 6:04 pm 0 comments

The short answer is: an online privacy concern.

A study from the University of California-San Diego found that some websites are collecting browser history information from their visitors without their knowledge or consent. Known as “history sniffing,” this invasion of privacy uses a piece of code to determine what sites a user has visited and then records that information. Of the 50,000 websites examined by researchers, 485 had the ability to record this information and 63 downloaded it to their servers. The highest ranking site on that list of 63 is YouPorn.com, an adult content distribution website that is now in the middle of a legal battle with two men who are invoking California’s Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to make a case against YouPorn.

If you want to protect yourself from this sort of tracking you’ll have to update your browser. The latest versions of Apple’s Safari and Google’s Chrome block all attempts at history sniffing, and Firefox plans to add the feature in the next full release. Internet Explorer has an option to block it, but that has to be done manually.

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