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Avast winds down Jumpshot, cites user data sale privacy concerns


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Avast’s CEO said the move is “absolutely the right thing to do.”




Avast is winding down its subsidiary Jumpshot following an explosive investigation into the sale of user data to third parties that may pose a risk to consumer privacy. 


On Thursday, the antivirus vendor said the unit will no longer have access to user information harvested from users of Avast products and services will eventually be fully terminated.


Jumpshot was purchased in 2013 and began life under Avast as a PC cleanup tool. The subsidiary's business shifted to data analytics in 2015 and its focus pivoted to marketing intelligence based on the analysis of online consumer spending patterns and purchases. 


Jumpshot reportedly has access to information from over 100 million devices; or rather, once did.  


A joint investigation conducted by Motherboard and PCMag, published this week, revealed that information scraped by Avast from users and handed over to Jumpshot is linked to individuals through a unique ID in an effort to anonymize them -- but it is possible to pick apart data strings to de-anonymize users and reveal their identity, tracing their online footprint, browsing habits, and purchases.


Jumpshot sells packaged data to enterprise clients and marketers, and naturally, the idea that this "anonymized" information can unmask Avast users has prompted serious concerns for consumer privacy and trust. 



For a company that offers products promoted as a means to protect users online, such worries could undermine its entire business. As a result, Avast has moved quickly on the investigation -- with Avast CEO Ondrej Vlcek and the firm's board of directors deciding t ax Jumpshot entirely. 


Avast products will not change and Jumpshot will pay its vendors and suppliers until the wind-down is complete. Customers of the marketing tool have been asked to contact the subsidiary directly. 


Hundreds of staff members will have to find employment elsewhere. 


In a blog post, Avast's CEO said that the recent news about Jumpshot "has hurt the feelings of many of you and rightfully raised a number of questions," and as chief executive, he feels "personally responsible" for the turmoil. 


"Protecting people is Avast's top priority and must be embedded in everything we do in our business and in our products. Anything to the contrary is unacceptable," Vlcek added. "When I took on the role as CEO of Avast seven months ago, I spent a lot of time re-evaluating every portion of our business. During this process, I came to the conclusion that the data collection business is not in line with our privacy priorities as a company in 2020 and beyond."


The executive seems keen to emphasize that Jumpshot, despite its position as an Avast subsidiary, has "operated as an independent company from the very beginning" with its own management and board of directors. 


Products built by Jumpshot over the years have been based on Avast data feeds. Despite assurances that the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was complied with, in other areas, data protection failures have now caused Jumpshot's collapse.


"While the decision we have made will regrettably impact hundreds of loyal Jumpshot employees and dozens of its customers, it is absolutely the right thing to do," Vlcek said. 



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Only non tech savvy  people  that install stuff without looking at the privacy settings  and privacy policy an would of not opted out on Jumpshot  to begin with. And not used a firewall  to block the ads. If im going to  go too all the trouble block  the ads on the GUI . im going go trough the privacy settings and disable  them too .


4 hours ago, aum said:

Who can trust a fox guarding the hen house?

That the way all closed source apps are if they connect  to the internet they why they  call them trustworthy  apps but avast can be blocked  with a firewall  completely  and you  can install offline updates for computers that dont have internet access  and it works fine if your really paranoid   , You have to trust the vendor  CEO on there word that they have your best interest  in mind  because the source is closed . Only the vendor can see what it does any more with your data because they all use https  nowadays.


But tech savvy  people never trust them, and example would be you take the thread here that has a 100 apps and scripts  to block Windows 10 Data Sucker that started up in 2015 . :clap:  They closed source so people really dont know  even if they  was to put a option in to opt out  of all of it .You would have to trust them if they ever did and that dont mean they not may not pre-load  your OS with other apps like Facebook  and others that collect data from you .  windows 7 and 8.1 had such a option to opt out and then they started  back porting telemetry from Windows 10  and void it . The thing with Closed Source vendors  they leave a clause in there privacy policy  that they can change it any time.  tech savvy  people really didn't trust XP  ether  they made XP Anti-spy  for XP  as well. 


Open Source apps you dont have to trust them because you can read  the code and see what it does and if it does something  it shouldn't  it will be a backlash by the open source community and if they fix it you'll be able to look at the code and tell.  If they dont fix  it you can fork it were it dont  do whatever you don't like  anymore . They  dont have to wait on a private  document  to leak that is a 1 in a 100 chance it ever will to be aware of a privacy  and security  problems and have a backlash and force the DEV to remove  it  .:lmao:



Edited by steven36
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