Avast stops Jumpshot data collection after privacy scandal

Avast stops Jumpshot data collection after privacy scandal

Avast has sold data of users through an intermediary called Jumpshot. That data should be anonymous and not retraceable to the original user. Research has shown that it was possible to trace the data back to individual users which let to a privacy scandal. Now Avast CEO, Ondrej Vlcek has pulled the plug on Jumpshot.

Avast has released a statement from their CEO that Jumpshot will be terminated. Jumpshot is a part of Avast since 2015. Jumpshot was set up as a subsidiary to improve and analyse data. That statement does not mention the fact that Jumpshot sells data as an intermediary for Avast. According to CEO Vlcek it operates independently but according to legislation. It even complies to the more strict recent privacy legislation. The fact that data collected by Jumpshot is retraceable to an individual is not in line with Avast privacy goals, and therefore Jumpshot will be dismantled.

Despite anonymising the collected data, other parties (including Amazon, Home Depot and Microsoft) could still link a person to the data by using the timestamps of certain site visits.

“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. I firmly believe it will help Avast focus on and unlock its full potential to deliver on its promise of security and privacy. And I especially thank our users, whose recent feedback accelerated our decision to take quick action”.

Anonymising data not enough

Where Avast initially defended itself with ‘users can uncheck the collection of data’. Users of the free services do not have this option. They would get this option in February at the latest. That is not necessary anymore now Avast has decided to terminate Jumpshot completely.