Avast under investigation for the sale of personal data to third-parties

It’s fair to say that Avast has been engaging in some rather sketchy behavior over the past couple of years. These include a privacy controversy with CCleaner back in 2018, and then a couple of weeks ago it was revealed that Avast Free Antivirus was sending browser history to marketers.

After attempting to defend its data gathering and sharing practices, Avast finally apologized and shut down its marketing analytics subsidiary Jumpshot with immediate effect. But it seems that isn’t the end of the matter as far as the Czech authorities are concerned.

As a result of a joint PCMag and Motherboard investigation, the Czech Republic's Data Protection Authority has now launched an inquiry into Avast’s sale of users’ browser histories to third-party companies. It's at an early stage, but the DPA is taking things very seriously.

"At the moment we are collecting information on the whole case. There is a suspicion of a serious and extensive breach of the protection of users’ personal data," Ivana Janu, President of the Czech Office for Personal Data Protection, said in a statement.

Although Avast claimed it was de-identifying user information, PCMag and Motherboard found that it could still be linked back to individuals.

In response to the Czech authorities’ investigation, Avast told PCMag: "We are in receipt of the DPA's request and we will diligently work with the DPA in full cooperation".

What might be worrying for Avast Free Antivirus users is PCMag reports that the company "plans on archiving the browser histories it collected and sold via Jumpshot, rather than immediately deleting the information which includes searches and clicks anywhere online, from Amazon browsing to adult content browsing".

Photo Credit: r.classen/Shutterstock

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