Canada says Pornhub owner broke privacy laws by sharing explicit images

Adds reaction from Aylo Holdings in paragraphs 6-7

OTTAWA, Feb 29 (Reuters) - The operator of Pornhub.com and other adult entertainment websites broke Canadian privacy laws by allowing the sharing of intimate images without the direct knowledge or consent of everyone depicted, an official watchdog said on Thursday.

Privacy Commissioner Philippe Dufresne launched a probe into Montreal-based Aylo Holdings after a woman discovered that her ex-boyfriend had uploaded an intimate video and other images of her to Aylo websites without her consent.

Dufresne said Aylo must take steps to ensure that it posted intimate images and videos only with the direct knowledge and consent of everyone appearing in the content.

"The inadequate privacy protection measures on Pornhub and other Aylo sites have led to devastating consequences for the complainant and other victims of non-consensual disclosure of intimate images," he said in a statement.

Individuals who asked Aylo to remove content were faced with an extremely onerous and ineffective process, he said. Dufresne said he had issued a number of recommendations designed to ensure Aylo obeyed Canadian privacy laws but noted the company had not committed to following any of them.

Aylo said the incident that prompted the woman to launch her complaint had occurred in 2015 and since then the firm had taken several steps to keep illegal material off the site.

"We have already developed practices and procedures that substantially address the concerns outlined in the report," it said in an emailed statement.

In December the company agreed to pay $1.8 million to the U.S. government to resolve a probe into its ties to an alleged sex trafficking operation.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Matthew Lewis)

((david.ljunggren@tr.com; +1 647 480 7891;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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