Your Porn Habits Could Go Public

It happened in Britain, and now it looks like the porn privacy invasion might reach American shores: U.S. companies are tracking porn downloads from networks like BitTorrent, and experts say they are easy prey for hackers.

Last night we linked to Kashmir Hill's story on 5,000 Brits suspected of pirating porn, who had their names and addresses leaked online after 4chan users attacked the servers of an anti-piracy law firm. CNET's Greg Sandoval has since investigated whether such an embarrassing breach could happen in the U.S., and come up with a definite "yes." "There's no doubt about it," Justin Brookman of the Center for Democracy and Technology tells him. "These companies...can track your information and create detailed records about you...once they get it there are very few protections in place."

CNET found at least two companies, Larry Flynt Publications and Adult Copyright Company, who have gone after people for downloading porn in violation of copyright law. ACC alone has filed copyright complaints against more than 5,400 individuals over downloads like "Tokyo Teens" and "Pornstar Superheroes." That number presumably doesn't count people who settled rather than be named in court papers alongside their alleged downloads. If you've downloaded any embarrassing porn over BitTorrent, you should cross your fingers these guys and their lawyers secure their records better than their counterparts in England. Or you can stop pirating porn and start buying it the legal way, with a credit card. Since we know those sorts of transactions never leak out into the wild (ahem).

[Image of computer via Shutterstock.com. Image of adult performers via ElegantAngel.com (NSFW)]