Avast fined $16.5M for engaging in user data collection, sale

CNN reports that Avast has been imposed a $16.5 million fine by the Federal Trade Commission for misleading customers with claims of protecting their browsing data but proceeding to gather and sell such data without prior consent.

Despite claiming to prevent unwanted data collection by various web trackers and promising to share user data in "anonymous and aggregate form," Avast proceeded to engage in the trade of browser information collected from its customers to more than 100 third parties, including data brokers, consulting companies, and advertising firms for at least a decade, according to the FTC, which has also prohibited Avast from engaging in data sale or licensing for advertising. "Avast promised users that its products would protect the privacy of their browsing data but delivered the opposite. Avast's bait-and-switch surveillance tactics compromised consumers' privacy and broke the law," said FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection Director Samuel Levine in a statement.

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