Avast is shutting down its subsidiary Jumpshot that was exposed for selling users private web browsing history.
Avast doesn’t deny selling the data. Instead, it claims the data it sells is anonymous and that it has never sold data to third parties that could identify users.
Jumpshot launched in 2015 to “provide marketers with trend analysis and statistics on anonymous buying habits.” However, Vice and PC Week reported this week that the information Avast sells to third parties could be linked back to specific individuals.
“Avast’s core mission is to keep its users safe online and to give users control over their privacy,” said Ondrej Vlcek, CEO of Avast. “The bottom line is that any practices that jeopardize user trust are unacceptable to Avast. We are vigilant about our users’ privacy, and we took quick action to begin winding down Jumpshot’s operations after it became evident that some users questioned the alignment of data provision to Jumpshot with our mission and principles that define us as a Company.”
Headquartered in San Francisco, Jumpshot employs over 200 people worldwide, of which three quarters are in the Czech Republic.
Avast’s shares on the Prague Stock Exchange have lost 20 percent of their value since Monday and are now selling around CZK 130 each.
Avast was founded in 1988 by Czech researchers Eduard Kučera and Pavel Baudiš. The company is a pioneer in the computer security industry. In 2016 Avast bought a competing Czech antivirus company AVG. Avast is the second-largest antivirus company in the world, after Symantec, in terms of revenue. Avast employs 1,200 people in the Czech Republic. Three quarters of which are in research and development.