● Avast fined $16.5 million for selling users data

Sun Feb 25, 2024 1:10 pm
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I know this isn't something I generally would post as news, but, I figured I would since I know many of you use or have used Avast in the past and stood by this product. For those that don't know what Avast is, it is a free antivirus software that you can download for your PC. They have been around for many years now and was deamed one of the better ones to use out there.

As of February 22, 2024, the Federal Trade Commission, (FTC), has announced that it will ban Avast from selling user data for advertising purposes. The FTC has also ordered Avast to pay a $16.5 million fine for selling and licensing web browsing data to third parties.

According to the FTC's complaint, Avast harvested user web browsing information from at least 2014 to 2020 through its antivirus software and browser extension. The FTC claims that the browsing data sold by Jumpshot reveals consumers' religious beliefs, health concerns, political leanings, location, and other sensitive information.

Avast's privacy policy states that they do not sell information that directly identifies you, like your name, address, or email. Avast's service data includes information about product usage and events relating to use of their product by you. This information includes samples, detection details, and files used for malware protection, information concerning URLs of websites, and usage statistics.

The FTC also claimes that Avast deceived users by saying that its software would help eliminate tracking on the web, when in reality, it did the tracking itself.

-- My Thoughts,
They are not the first nor will be the last that will gather data and sell it, but, things that I'm pretty sure is BS, is when they claim that they don't sell private data like names, addresses, and email. The reason I call BS on this is quite simple, eveyone else has and that informtion is what most want. Companies like Microsoft, Google, Amazon, ect..., all have done it in the past, and one of the funniest things I heard was from a ex Microsoft employee, that came out and talked about projects that he worked on, and other things, but also pointed out that when MS said that the way that they shared data, was not with names and emails, but with a unique id number and didn't store peoples email/usernames/names, but he also pointed out that it was not hard for them to take that unique idientifier and match it up with a user and called BS on thier claims.

My biggest grip is how this fine is nothing more than a small slap on the hand and is overall a joke. Last year, Avast revenue was $808.3 million, which in the fiscal year, Avasts 2023 free cash flow is over $750 million. I personally am getting tired of compaines like this, selling data knowing that at most, they will just get a slap in the hand. I know people seem not to want govenment intervention, but, someone needs to step in and say enough.

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