Pornhub, GDPR and your right to be forgotten when you j**k off

It’s that time of the year again: in early January Pornhub released and AMAZING 20167statistics report.

Pornhub is a huge porn platform, I believe it is enough to let you know in 2017 they streamed 3,732 Petabytes of data, which makes for 7,101 GB per minutes and 118 GB per second.
That is enough data to fill the storage of all of the world’s iPhones currently in use.
This should give you a good idea of how humongous Pornhub is.

Screen Shot 2018-02-08 at 21.28.27.png
If, to the previous statement, we add the porn market is extremely competitive(you want to access the content NOW, you don’t want to wait for it), we can easily say Pornhub, from a technical point of view, is a little jewel.

Going trough the report it’s clear they serve content EVERYWHERE in the world, meaning they have to rely on CDNs to fulfil their audience requests.
I expected their infrastructure to be multilayered, with several origin servers distributed all over the continents, caching layers and a CDN layer. Given they mostly serve VoD and possibly OTT streams they must have a lot of storage, bandwidth available and amazing caching solutions.

I also curled a random video from

Screen Shot 2018-02-08 at 21.38.46.png

Those response headers are PERFECT. Nothing really is revealed of the way they do streaming, nothing about the servers they use or any other technology making it way more difficult to possibly attack them.

</end of my technical praise for Pornhub>

Now, to the most scary part.

“Thanks to the anonymized data provided by Google Analytics, Pornhub’s statisticians are able to build an accurate picture of the demographic makeup of our visitors including their gender, age and even interests.”

That’s what we read in the report.
But, is it really anonymous?

A few things they know about each of their users:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • What you want to watch
  • How long you browse around their website
  • The device you use
  • The operative system of the device
  • The web browser you use
  • The exact date and time of your visit(s)

And, of course, your IP address.
So, again, is this anonymous? NO.
They might use those data to try to sell you something, or they might collect data and sell it to someone else, who will eventually try to sell you something(most likely). After all, when it’s on the web and it’s for free, you are the product and that is now widely known.

With the new GDPR kicking in on May the 25th, you can stop being the product, and instead ask them(or for what matters to anyone else who collected some of your data) to delete all your record. You will have the right to be forgotten. And, again, you can refuse them to collect any sort of personal user data that can somehow pinpoint at you.

Well, it will be extremely interesting to see how gigantic company will adapt to these new regulation. Pornhub is just one of the biggest and possible the safest, but Facebook and Google also must be mentioned among others and those two gigantic corporation which make a living out of users’ information will have to reshape the whole way analytics are currently done.
It will be thrilling to see how users personalisation will be done when nobody will be allowed to collect people’s specific details.


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