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8 People Who Can See the Porn You're Browsing Online

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Is anyone spying on you right now? I'm not talking about shady characters in trench coats lurking outside your window. I'm talking about digital spies -- people who know the ins and outs of your Web browsing habits, including the, ahem, private sites you visit.

Not that you, reader, ever visit any of those sites. I know you spend all day on Cute Overload. But think about all the things you do online that you don't want anyone else to know about -- that time you Googled the digestive problem you were having, the way you stalk your ex's Facebook page or even your online banking habits. That's all private information, but it's also information that can be easily accessed by a number of people. The Daily Beast brings you a list of everyone who could potentially violate your online privacy.

1. Your Partner or Roommate: Even if you think you're covering your tracks by deleting your browser history on the regular, a tenacious (and tech-savvy) housemate could check your tracking cookies or cache. Or, they could innocently start typing a URL into Firefox and have a frequently-visited site of yours "suggested" to them.

2. Your IT Person: If an unsuspecting spouse can accidentally uncover your embarrassing browsing habits, you know an IT professional can do even more. There are all kinds of ways your computer stores info on the sites you've visited, and your IT person can access all of them. In fact, they often need to do so to be able to solve your computer woes, especially if you frequent sites on the shadier end of the spectrum. Those places are magnets for viruses.

3. The Nice Couple in 3G: If you use a Wi-Fi network at home, but you don't have encryption or password protection turned on, your downstairs neighbors could theoretically snoop on you (no matter how nice they seem). Also beware of unsecured Wi-Fi networks at coffee shops, which can leave you vulnerable to spyware.

4. Your ISP: Since everything you do online goes through your internet service provider, it theoretically has the ability to access info on every site you visit. Generally speaking, ISPs have privacy policies (and hopefully a shred of conscience) that keeps them from keeping tabs on your browsing history. But if you screw with the wrong ISP employee, he or she technically could find out what you've been up to.

5. Ad Networks: Ad networks track users across different sites so they can show you ads that are relevant to your interests (and ultimately, ya know, sell stuff). They generally don't have your personal information, so they probably don't know who you are, but they definitely know where you've been on the Interweb.

6. Content Networks: Companies that operate multiple sites (e.g., Gawker Media) can also theoretically use cookies to track your surfing habits, just like ad networks do. Most reputable sites have privacy policies to protect you, but they also are more likely than ad networks to know who you are, because you may have subscribed to something on the site.

7. Google: Google has a lot of personal information about you, especially if you've signed up for a Gmail account (and who hasn't?), as well as your web surfing habits. Their motto is "don't be evil," so theoretically they don't want to do anything sinister with that information, beyond getting targeted ads in front of your eyeballs (they have their own giant ad network). But at least one Google engineer has been fired for accessing personal accounts, so the threat of privacy violations is there.

8. Adult Websites: As I mentioned before, titillating websites are notoriously virus-y. But beyond that, there are myriad ways you could be tracked back to those sites. According to the Daily Beast, "even if you think you aren't supplying any personal information, it's not impossible to be identified, given Web technologies and databases. For instance, Web browsers routinely supply servers with a lot of information about your computer, including such trivial-sounding facts as the fonts installed on your PC. Enough data points can serve as a fingerprint for your machine -- and if a database somewhere is able to connect you with that fingerprint, it's conceivable that the operator of the server can know who you are."

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