Avast recently found itself in the spotlight again after being accused of selling the personal information of its users to third-party marketing companies. According to an investigation conducted by PCMag and Motherboard, a division within the company collected the browser click history and purchase habits of individuals using its free antivirus software.
The division in question goes by the name of Jumpshot, a subsidiary that allegedly handles both incoming and outgoing traffic for 100 million devices. Including PCs and smartphone data.
To the untrained eye, the collected data seems limited and completely harmless. Of course and unsurprisingly, to major tech brands such as Google and Amazon, that information holds a wealth of detail. Right down to the individual clicks users make during their browsing session, as well as the exact time those clicks were made.
To put things into a more focused perspective, the data also includes Google searches, location searches and GPS coordinates on Google maps, particular YouTube videos. And of course, a user’s recent – if not preferred – pornographic video. All this, skimmed from the database of more than 435 million active monthly users and more than 100 million devices.
News about a company selling or sharing its user data with marketing firms and other companies isn’t exactly new. Back in 2018, Facebook was discovered to have been giving major brands such as Netflix, Microsoft and Amazon access to its users’ data.