Did you know your browsing history could be sold to some of the largest companies in the world? New light has recently been shined on the secretive sale of people’s internet browsing histories, through a joint investigation by Motherboard and PCMag.
It came to light that “Jumpshot,” a subsidiary of Avast, an antivirus program used by hundreds of millions of people worldwide, was selling highly-sensitive web browsing data to many of the world’s largest companies. It advertised to its clients that it was selling “Every search. Every click. Every buy. On every site.” It claimed to be the only company that “unlocks walled garden data,” seeking to provide marketers with “deeper visibility into the entire online customer journey.”
The Jumpshot program would collect user data, which was then repackaged into various products and sold to giant, well-known companies such as Google, Yelp, Microsoft, Pepsi, Home Depot, Conde Nast, and Intuit, among others. Some clients paid millions for products that included an “All-Clicks Feed,” which tracks user behavior and movements across websites in precise detail.
Although Avast claims to only collect data from users who “opt-in,” many Avast users weren’t aware their browsing data was being sold, which raises questions about how “informed” their consent really is. And although the data isn’t supposed to contain personal info such as user names, some of it is still highly sensitive and can contain a wealth of specific browsing information.
Experts claim it’s possible the data could actually “deanonymize” some users.
Read more about the expose Here.
Update: Shortly after the investigation uncovering this information was publicized, Avast announced it would be putting an immediate end to the Jumpshot data collection and winding down Jumpshot’s operations.
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