Avast fined $16.5 million for ‘privacy’ software that actually sold users’ browsing data

A mosaic of illustration of eyes

From at least 2014 to 2020, Avast harvested user web browsing information through its antivirus software and browser extension, according to the FTC’s complaint. This allowed it to collect data on religious beliefs, health concerns, political views, locations, and financial status. The company then stored this information “indefinitely” and sold it to over 100 third parties without the knowledge of customers, the complaint says.

The FTC also claims Avast deceived users by saying its software would help eliminate tracking on the web — when it actually did the tracking itself.

What is really sad here is that anti-virus products get really high levels of trust to operate. This is a real abuse of that trust. This really puts a serious dent in any trust that users have with this company.

This follows on from my post a day back on Mastodon about Public Relations. Public Relations is nothing more than propaganda, as just about none of any PR staff actually understand what the technical meaning is of what they are saying or promising.

See https://www.theverge.com/2024/2/22/24080135/avast-security-privacy-software-ftc-fine-data-harvesting