The famous free antivirus software “Avast” is reportedly selling high sensitive web browsing data of its users’ using a subsidiary company called Jumpshot.
According to ‘Motherboard’ and ‘PCMag’ who first published the news, the software appears to track users' clicks and movements across the web and also collects data from things like Google searches, Google Maps, YouTube vids, and even LinkedIn pages.
These collected data are then repackaged and sold by Jumpshot. Interestingly the Jumpshot website says that they can deliver data on users' actions behind "the Internet's most valuable walled gardens." Also, Jumpshot’s potential clients include Google, Yelp, Microsoft, Pepsi, and several other leading brands.
Avast’s spokesperson responded saying that Jumpshot doesn’t collect personal identification information like name, email address or contact details and users always had the option to not share data with Jumpshot.
She stated that, “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.”
Avast allows users to opt into data collection via a pop-up message in its software and users can easily opt-out of it if they wish to. But several users revealed to ‘Motherboard’ that they were unaware of their data being sold by the security company.