Avast will shut down Jumpshot’s data collection practices and wind down the operations of Jumpshot, according to a letter from the CEO of Avast. Avast saw backlash across the web following a joint investigation from Vice and PCMag showed that Avast sold collected user data to Jumpshot, which in turn sold data to other corporations. The move to wind down Jumpshot’s operations will affect “hundreds of loyal Jumpshot employees and dozens of its customers,” according to CEO Ondrej Vlcek.
In a letter to stakeholders, customers, partners, employees, and investors, Vlcek explained the decision to wind down Jumpshot’s operations. He stated that “Avast’s core mission is to keep people around the world safe and secure, and I realize the recent news about Jumpshot has hurt the feelings of many of you, and rightfully raised a number of questions – including the fundamental question of trust. As CEO of Avast, I feel personally responsible and I would like to apologize to all concerned. 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.”
Jumpshot’s business relied on data collected from Avast. Avast used to have an internet plugin that would collect data but later switched to having the anti-virus program collect data directly. This data would then be sold to large corporations that could use it to optimize marketing efforts. One package from Jumpshot is the “All Click Feed” which includes all clicks performed on a specific domain. For example, a company could purchase the data regarding every click on a retail website to learn consumer buying and clicking habits. While the list of clients is not confirmed, Vice reported that past, present, and potential clients of Jumpshot include Microsoft, Google, Yelp, Pepsi, Home Depot, and many others.