Antivirus firm Avast is reportedly selling users’ web browsing data

Avast, which makes free antivirus software that’s used by millions of people around the world, is selling “highly sensitive” web data via a subsidiary company called Jumpshot. The software appears to track users clicks and movements across the web, and collects data on things like searches on Google and Google Maps, as well as visits to specific LinkedIn pages, YouTube vides and porn websites, according to an investigation published Monday by Motherboard and PCMag.

The collected data is then reportedly repackaged and sold by Jumpshot, which says on its website that it’s able to deliver data on users actions behind “the Internet’s most valuable walled gardens.” Some past and present customers, as well as potential clients, include Google, Yelp, Microsoft, Pepsi, Sephora, Home Depot, Intuit and others, according to the report, which cites “leaked user data, contracts and other company documents.”

Avast didn’t have an immediate comment on the report. The company told Motherboard and PCMag that users have always had the choice to opt out of sharing data with Jumpshot, adding that it takes “seriously the responsibility to balance user privacy with the necessary use of data.”

Avast reportedly asks users to opt-in to data collection via a pop up message in the antivirus software. However, “multiple” users told Motherboard they were unaware that their browsing data was then sold.

Jumpshot didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.


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