Study: Vast Majority Of Homemade Porn, Private Photos End Up Online

By Benjamin Fearnow
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Facebook and Yahoo are asking a secret court to allow them to disclose data on national security orders the companies have received under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. (Photo Illustration by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Facebook and Yahoo are asking a secret court to allow them to disclose data on national security orders the companies have received under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. (Photo Illustration by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – The vast majority of homemade pornography and private images on personal computers ends up on public websites called “parasites.”

Eighty-eight percent of homemade pornography, including videos and still images, finds its way onto porn sites, often without the owners’ knowledge, a new study from Britain’s Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) has found.

The study analyzed more than 12,000 sexually explicit images uploaded by young people and found that the great majority of images had been stolen and published to what the organization calls, “parasite” websites.

These “parasites,” which are exclusively designed for hosting sexual images featuring young subjects, allegedly obtain their material from anywhere they can get it: lost or stolen cellphones, hacked private accounts on Photobucket, Flickr, or Facebook, or from chat sites and Tumblr, a blogging platform notorious for the amount of explicit self-published content by high school and college-age students.

“We need young people to realize that once an image or a video has gone online, they may never be able to remove it entirely,” Susie Hargreaves, CEO of the Internet Watch Foundation, told the Guardian newspaper in London. “Once an image has been copied on to a parasite website, it will no longer suffice to simply remove the image from the online account.”

These porn websites drive massive amounts of traffic and demand.

A study this year from Extreme Tech says 30 percent of all web traffic is porn. The porn site, “Xvideos,” receives a staggering 4.4 billion page views and 350 million unique visitors per month. According to the study, the only sites that surpass the biggest porn site, “Xvideos,” in traffic are sites like Google and Facebook.

In 2011, the now-defunct IsAnyoneUp.com published tens of thousands of stolen Facebook photos submitted by jaded ex-lovers or angry friends.

A Pew Forum survey from 2010 showed Millennials are more permissive than older generations in their views about pornography. The smallest percentage of this young age group – 21 percent – believe that Internet porn should be illegal.

David Wright, director of the UK Safer Internet Center, agreed with the study and reiterated a warning to youngsters not to send sexually explicit messages via their phones, either.

“Much of the advice for children and young people is, quite rightly, to not ‘sext,’ ” he told the Guardian.

The IWF report features an array of quotes from people who have had homemade porn videos of themselves and others spread on the Internet unknowingly. One reads, “One explicit image I took when I was young…is coming up on the first page of all the search engines.”

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