The federal privacy watchdog says the operator behind Pornhub and other pornographic sites broke the law by enabling intimate images to be shared on its websites without direct knowledge or consent.

The privacy commissioner's investigation into Aylo, formerly known as MindGeek, followed a complaint from a woman whose ex-boyfriend had uploaded an intimate video and other images of her to Aylo websites without her permission.

Commissioner Philippe Dufresne says inadequate privacy protection measures on Pornhub and other Aylo sites have led to devastating consequences for the complainant and other victims.

He says given the enormous risks involved, Aylo must take steps to ensure it only posts intimate images and videos with the direct knowledge and consent of everyone appearing in the content.

The investigation also found that people faced an onerous and ineffective process when they asked Aylo to remove content that had been posted without their consent.

Dufresne made several recommendations aimed at bringing Aylo into compliance with Canada's federal private-sector privacy law, but he says the company has not committed to implementing any of them.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 29, 2024.