Home Technology Avast (and AVG) busted for selling personal data, kills responsible subsidiary

Avast (and AVG) busted for selling personal data, kills responsible subsidiary

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Avast might be a company some of us use to ensure our PCs are free from viruses and secure from outside threats, but it turns out they have been a bit of a bad culprit themselves. It was revealed that through subsidiary company Jumpshot, that the company was harvesting browsing data and selling it to advertisers. It’s unethical (though still legal) for a company that is supposed to be the side of consumer privacy and not exploiting it.

The reports, which were the result of a joint investigation between Motherboard and PCMag, detailed how Avast was collecting user browsing data via its antivirus software. This data included Google searches, location lookups, visited URLs along with precise timestamps, and in some cases, even specific searches made on porn websites. The company claims that individual users couldn’t be identified through this data, though the investigation revealed that sometimes it could.

This news is quite disturbing and, in an attempt to save face, the company has just announced that they will be shutting down the company with immediate effect. So getting other people to do the dirty work for them and then letting all those people go straight away when busted. Talk about throwing people plunder the bus. Great way to make yourselves look like an even worse company Avast.

CEO Ondrej Vlcek has tried to paint a healthy picture of the company doing the honourable thing, though it is unlikely that they didn’t know about all this data selling and without any of the Avast execs choosing to step down themselves, it’s unlikely it will do anything to clean up their now tainted image.

Protecting people is Avast’s top priority and must be embedded in everything we do in our business and in our products. Anything to the contrary is unacceptable. For these reasons, I – together with our board of directors – have decided to terminate the Jumpshot data collection and wind down Jumpshot’s operations, with immediate effect.

You can probably still expect Avast to keep your computer safe from outside threats for now. It’s the information they have on you internally though that they seem to be less ethical with.

Last Updated: January 31, 2020

11 Comments

  1. HvR

    January 31, 2020 at 13:44

    So somebody at Avast has been educated in the fine film history of midget cheesy horse and dildo sexual encounters….

    Reply

    • Pariah

      January 31, 2020 at 13:54

      I have such a morbidly curious mind that if I wasn’t at work I’d Google that to see if it’s really a thing.

      FML.

      Reply

  2. Pariah

    January 31, 2020 at 13:54

    AVAST YE PC LUBBERS! WE’VE COME TE PILLAGE YER DATA!

    Reply

  3. konfab

    January 31, 2020 at 13:54

    If you have to use an anti-virus, Windows Defender isn’t a bad choice, and since MS is already collecting all your data, your privacy isn’t really going to be impacted.

    Otherwise, learn common sense or learn how to use Gnu/Linux.

    Reply

    • Pariah

      January 31, 2020 at 14:02

      Windows Defender does the job just fine without killing your resources or costing you a cent, tbh.

      And yeah common sense. Don’t click on dodgy links in emails. My mom STILL does that, even after she’s lost like 2 laptops to ransomware.

      Reply

      • Hammersteyn

        January 31, 2020 at 14:02

        As do I, one of those spanish lottery mails will be legit one day. I just know it.

        Reply

        • Pariah

          January 31, 2020 at 14:11

          She said that almost word for word to me the one time. “No this one is legit. I spoke to him on the phone and I’m getting a car! We’re going back and forth and sorting the details.”

          A week later she comes back “He asked me to pay a deposit. Should I do it? I can get a car!”. No, mother. It’s a scam, like I told you. Fuck sakes.

          Reply

      • HvR

        January 31, 2020 at 14:02

        So twice now she was disappointed to not be able to fullfill your dreams of a having a Nigerian Prince millionaire as your new daddy?

        Reply

  4. D@rCF0g

    January 31, 2020 at 14:08

    When it come to security, trustworthiness is essential. While they may not have done anything illegal, their trustworthiness is demolished. I can see a ton of people jump ship to another software provider.

    Reply

  5. Geoffrey Tim

    January 31, 2020 at 14:26

    Windows Defender and some common sense is all you need these days.

    Reply

  6. Gunzton

    February 3, 2020 at 10:09

    The day they secretly installed their web browser and made it default was the day I jumped ship. Haven’t used Avast in years…

    Reply

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