This antivirus software firm is allegedly selling users’ data
NEW DELHI: Antivirus software firm Avast is reportedly selling ‘highly sensitive’ web browsing data. As reported by Motherboard and PCMag, Avast is selling the web browsing data of millions of people via its subsidiary company called Jumpshot. The software seems to track users movements and clicks across the web and then collects data on things like searches on Google and Google Maps. It also tracks visits LinkedIn pages, YouTube videos and porn websites.
The report adds that the data collected using the software is then sold by Jumpshot, which claims on its website that it is able to deliver data based on users actions behind “the Internet’s most valuable walled gardens.” According to the report, some of the past and present customers and clients of Jumpshot include Microsoft, Google, Yelp, Sephora, Pepsi, Home Depot, Intuit and others.
In an emailed statement to the publication, Avast said that Jumpshot doesn’t acquire personal identification information which includes name, email address or contact details. Moreover, users always have the option to opt-out of sharing data with Jumpshot.
“As of July 2019, we had already begun implementing an explicit opt-in choice for all new downloads of our AV, and we are now also prompting our existing free users to make an opt-in or opt-out choice, a process which will be completed in February 2020. The company understands and takes seriously the responsibility to balance user privacy with the necessary use of data for our core security products,” said the spokeswoman in an official statement.
The report also suggests that Avast claims to ask users to opt-out of data collection via a pop-up message in the antivirus software. But, as per Motherboard, many users told the publication that they were not aware of the fact that their browsing data is being sold online.