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All eyes on Cyprus, while Italian DPA has received first defense statement from Pornhub

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Press Release – Aylo (formerly known as Mindgeek) submitted its first defense statement in the trial started earlier this summer in Italy for massive GDPR violations on its platform Pornhub, being represented by a renowned multibillion law firm. The statement was notified to the Italian Data Protection Authority and, today, we presented our counterarguments to the legal defense of this tech-giant. We have also filed a motion to inform the Cypriot DPA (leading DPA for Pornhub) about our case so that it will allow the Italian DPA to move on with the case.

As tension is rising before the Italian DPA, all eyes are now on Cyprus where the legal entity responsible for Pornhub is located. In Cyprus, the Commissioner for Personal Data Protection received our “twin-complaint” already in August 2022 but the investigations there are still ongoing and the trial has not started yet. According to a recent investigation conducted by Le Monde, Cyprus has consolidated its position of high-tech hub for the porn industry and there is growing concerns that the Cypriot DPA will be too lenient with Aylo not to jeopardize the presence of its wealth on the island. If the Cypriot DPA will not respond to our lawsuits in due time, we will have no alternatives but to file a complaint against its inaction.

Meanwhile, Pornhub is already running for cover and decided to change its cookie banner, privacy policy and terms of services. All the changes were made in great silence and, when the tech-giant was shamed by us because the new cookie banner was not big enough, they changed it again. These are clearly troubled times for Pornhub, who in the past month lost two positions among the most visited websites of the world and is now ranking 14th on SimilarWeb.

And GDPR is not the sole European regulation to create problems to Aylo and its empire. Few weeks ago a coalition of digital rights activists, sex workers, gender-based violence survivors and sextech builders has leveraged the new Digital Services Act (DSA) to pressure the European Commission into including major porn platforms in the list of Very Large Online Platforms. If successful, this VLOPs designation will force platforms like Pornhub and Youporn (both owned by Aylo) to undergo strict due-diligence and allow independent auditing by vetted researchers.

In this context, the next move of the Cypriot DPA is set to decide the future of Pornhub’s data business model and, probably, the future of the whole Aylo: what will Cyprus do?


 

#StopDataPorn is a collective initiative calling on users and authorities to take immediate action and address the exploitative practices of porn platforms. This users’ data violation is not the sole abuse done by Pornhub, who is already involved in scandals about monetizing from sexual assault videos and letting children access its adult material.

 

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