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The saying goes: "cheap is expensive". In this case we are talking about the most famous free antivirus in the world, almost. A leak has revealed that Avast spies on and sells its users' data to other companies.
The issue of Internet advertising and the sale of information for advertising purposes is an issue that borders on the illegal in hundreds of cases and today one of many that are still in the shadows has been discovered.
The "funny" thing about this issue is that, as it is an antivirus, we should feel protected, but what we have received is the opposite. According to Motherboard and PCMag, Avast is spying on and selling the data of more than 100 million users worldwide to Jumpshot.
This last company is a subsidiary of Avast, that is, it is part of Avast, since it was bought in 2013.
"The silver lining" of the matter is that Avast has access to over 430 million users, but of all of them, Jumpshot only has access to 100 millionThis is because it is the users who must accept the exchange of data, and fortunately not everyone accepts it.
Following the discovery, it is known that in the documents blaming Avast it can be clearly seen how Jumpshot promotes the sale of informationto companies such as Google Microsoft, Pepsi, McKinsey, Home Depot, Sephora, Loreal, Keurig, Condé Nast, Yelp, Expedia, Intuit, etc.
Information is priceless, but our privacy seems not
The strategy is as follows: Avast collects the data, because has access to more than 430 million devices, this data is they sell to Jumpshot so that she is the one who takes care of the distribution. Later, after million-dollar deals, that information would fall into the hands of companies that we have already named, and all to create personalized ads on the Internet.
All data sold includes Google searches (including location history), LinkedIn profiles, video watch histories, YouTube, number of clicks, exact dates and times of visits to porn pages, Google Maps coordinates, etc.
All information sold by Jumpshot is related to the well-known "All Click Feed", and this is vitally important information for large companies, since this is where each click, each search, each purchase that is made, in short, each movement on the Internet, is saved.
Avast protects itself by saying that it complies with data anonymization, that is, they don't know who owns what. But if that data falls into the hands of Google, the anonymity is broken because Google has complete profiles of each and every one of us in its databases.
Avast makes use of differential privacy, that is, it stores a lot of information about all users but that it "really" doesn't know nothing of all of them. Explained in a very simple way.
At this crossroads also enters AVG, which is from the same group as Avast. Both one and the other carry out an almost exhaustive spying on the millions of users they have.
Now it only remains to recommend deactivating the Avast and AVG service, or, rather, uninstalling the app on our mobiles and Avast and AVG programs on our computers.
Be that as it may, the real business behind Internet advertising has been discovered. But as we have already said at the beginning of this article, this is one case among hundreds of others that have yet to be discovered, and that is that the fact that online advertising requires large amounts of private data is an open secret.