We install antivirus software to protect us, not exploit us. Like a bodyguard, AV programs needs full, unfettered access to everything in order to properly do the job. That requires complete and absolute trust. And probably a non-disclosure agreement. Unfortunately, antivirus software doesn’t offer you an NDA promise. Avast, the maker of one of the top five AV software applications, has recently been shown to collect and sell entensive customer information to third parties. While they claim to anonymize the data, it’s often easy to re-identify people when correlating this data with other databases. Thanks to some reporting by Vice and PCMag, Avast is shutting down this lucrative side business after a serious backlash. I’ll tell you how you can mitigate your exposure to rampant data sharing.
In other news, Sonos angers many long-time customers by declaring an end to supporting older devices; over 250M customer records have been exposed on five public servers with zero protections for about 14 years; Clearview, the company boasting a database of 3B face photos, has come under fire from social media companies and the US Congress; iOS 13 and Android 10 location privacy restrictions have dropped location tracking by nearly 70%; and Mozilla has banned almost 200 plugins for tracking users and violating its malware policies.