Avast’s commitment to responsible data use

Avast 29 Jan 2020

The security and privacy of our users worldwide is Avast’s priority

In recent days media outlets have reported on Avast and our subsidiary Jumpshot. We know that when each of our more than 400 million users choose an Avast product, they choose to trust us with their security and privacy. That trust is core not only to the success of our business, but to the values of the company as a whole. We do not take that responsibility lightly, and that is why we continue to listen to concerns, take feedback, and continually evolve and improve. In order to be as transparent as possible, we wanted to take this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to you, to the responsible use of your data, and to evolving to meet your expectations.

We want to reassure our users that at no time have we sold any personally identifiable information to a third party. We want to give confidence to all our users and partners that they have made the right decision to choose Avast and reassure them that their privacy is secure and their personal data safe. 

We have always been committed to providing our users with full control of their privacy at every turn. Our Privacy Policy provides additional clarification on what data we collect, why we require it, and how we handle it, and we have made sure to use clear and easy to understand language rather than standard legal vocabulary. Since we were the first to offer free antivirus protection to users worldwide, we made the decision to voluntarily apply compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) privacy requirements across our entire global user base – without exception. Our Consent Policy explains the steps a user can take to give or withdraw their consent at any time for our products and for trend analytics created by Jumpshot. 

Today’s world is vastly different from the one where Avast was founded, in Central Europe some 30 years ago. Embracing new-found liberty, Avast was, and continues to be, based on the principles of freedom, democracy and choice, and our founders are passionate defenders of the right to privacy. As a result of that commitment, we have grown to a global cybersecurity company that is dedicated to keeping everyone safe online. We take the privacy of our users very seriously, and our award-winning tools are specifically designed to facilitate a safer and more secure internet browsing experience.

The cybersecurity world today is powered by data. We use the data from our users’ devices to analyze huge volumes of threat data with machine learning and artificial intelligence, which detects threat patterns and security issues in ways that are impossible for humans unaided. Each month, Avast stops 1.5 billion attempts to attack globally. This conflict is both driven, and solved, by data.

When Jumpshot was first launched in 2015, the idea was to create an innovative way to provide marketers with trend analytics and statistics on customer purchasing habits that was de-identified, rather than specific user targeting that has been historically pervasive on the web. We knew it was critical that the browsing data be handled in an ethical way, including de-identifying personal information and requiring that individuals would not be targeted for marketing and advertising. 

Within our product, our users have a broad range of privacy settings. Users were always given control over their data sharing. Privacy adjustments can be made at any time by selecting Menu - Settings - Personal Privacy.

This includes choices such as permitting their data to be used internally by Avast for product improvements and product analytics or their de-identified data by Jumpshot for trend analytics. 

While we acted fully within legal bounds, always remaining vigilant to protect our users’ privacy, we have listened to recent feedback and have already taken steps to align with the expectations of our users and continue to consider how a trends analytics service aligns with our values as a cybersecurity and privacy company. 

In July 2019, we began testing an explicit opt-in choice for all new downloads of our desktop AV that will replace the legacy opt out mechanism, and are in the process of rolling this out to all existing AV users who will be proactively prompted to make their choice..

The security and privacy of our users and partners remains our top priority. We are continuing to explore further changes we can make to improve transparency and choice for users of our products and will provide further updates in due course.

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