Avast shares drop after revelations about selling data

Josh Peachey's picture

Shares in antivirus firm Avast dropped following reports that the company had been selling user data to the likes of Expedia, IBM and L'Oreal.

The company allegedly scraped data from Avast software used by customers before passing it to marketing subsidiary Jumpshot, which then repackaged the information and sold it on for millions of dollars.

Headquartered in the Czech Republic, Avast bought US marketing company Jumpshot in 2013, which enabled it to track what websites users visited, when and on what device.

Google searches, Google Maps location searches, activity on companies’ LinkedIn pages, YouTube visits and data on people visiting porn websites, are all believed to have been collected and sold. Avast shares lost 46p to 436p.

Whilst the data-sharing option on the Avast software was opt-in, the investigation by trade publications Motherboard and PCMag revealed that many were unaware of Jumpshot selling on their data.

Questions are being asked as to whether Avast also broke GDPR rules.

Avast said: “In December 2019, we acted quickly to meet browser store standards and are now compliant with browser extension requirements for our online security extensions. 

“At the same time, we completely discontinued the practice of using any data from the browser extensions for any other purpose than the core security engine, including sharing with our subsidiary Jumpshot.”