The price of free software: Avast has been selling the browser history of its users
Although I use a few paid products that also have good free alternatives, I have always been a big fan of free software. Unfortunately, I've seen too many free products fading away so it no longer surprises me when I find out that various software makers resort to rather questionable methods of making money from their free products. Today, the time has come to find out that Avast's free antivirus can have a price that many users are not willing to pay: the privacy of their browsing history.
According to PCMag, the "de-identified" data that Avast has been collecting can, in fact, be linked to the people's real identities, especially when it is being sold to certain third parties. For example, when Avast is selling to Amazon the data concerning a click performed by someone who purchased a certain product at a given hour on a certain date, Amazon can identify that user. Obviously, it works for many other sites — adult ones included, most likely.
The two source articles linked below this one are quite interesting and rather long (I recommend you to check out at least the one by VICE, nevertheless), so if you want a quick conclusion, there can be only one: try to stay away from Avast's pieces of code. I will not recommend any alternative products to make it clear that this is not a paid article and — although many have not been discovered yet — Avast is for sure not the only company that is currently doing this without the knowledge of its users.
If you have anything to say about Avast or other companies who have been caught red-handed, feel free to drop your comments below.