Avast, the company responsible for a popular free antivirus and other low-cost digital security services, collects and sells information on the browsing habits of its 400 million users since at least 2013. According to press reports, the sale of This data represents about 5 percent of the firm's revenue.
Despite the inscription of a news like this, in the case of a company that is precisely dedicated to protecting the privacy of its customers, Avast ensures that its practices do not put users at risk, since the information it sells lacks any detail that could Identify individual users.
The company's revenues were around $ 430 million during the first half of 2019, so that 5 percent obtained through this practice represents more than $ 20 million.
The Avast executive director, Ondrej Vlcek, assured Forbes that there is no scandal to pursue, explaining that the activity of its users is effectively monitored online, but that before the information reaches the Avast servers it is stripped of anything that could expose the identity of a person, such as a name that appears in the URL, as in the case of the login of sites such as Facebook.
Then, all the data is analyzed by a company called Jumpshot (which is 65 percent owned by Avast), to finally be sold as prospects. Those interested in paying for them may be investors or brand managers interested in knowing the way in which user groups use the network.
Despite the words of encouragement from the executive, some have begun calling Avast tools spyware, even leading Mozilla and Opera to take measures such as removing some of these tools from their extensions and accessories stores.
In no way do we allow advertisers or third parties to obtain any access through Avast or any data that will allow that third party to target a specific individual, Vlcek told Forbes.