TurboTax sells access to your data

I was preparing to e-file my 2013 taxes using Intuit’s TurboTax Deluxe for Windows when this security alert popped up on my computer:

Click to embiggen

Click to embiggen

I took a look at the certificate and found TurboTax was apparently trying to set up a connection to Adadvisor.net. Since there’s no reason for TurboTax to be making any internet connections at this point, let alone to an “Ad Advisor”, I said “No”.

I checked my browser and found fresh cookies for adadvisor.net, which means that TurboTax had allowed a third party access to my computer. When I Googled adadvisor.net, I found that they are run by Neustar Information Services, a company that “provides audience insights that increase online advertising relevancy through the power of verified offline consumer data.” (note: if you click on that link, Neustar will add yet another set of cookies.)

Is TurboTax secretly giving an unapproved third party my verified personal data, gained from my income tax return? I’ve deleted the cookies, so I don’t have them handy for further analysis, but as the old Magic 8-ball might say, “All signs point to Yes.”

I’d expect this sleazy behavior from TurboTax if I were using the web version, but I had the apparently naive expectation that I’d retain some small scrap of privacy by using the desktop app.

Meanwhile, my E-filing seems to have been successful, though if TurboTax and their partners can’t do something as simple as generating a functional certificate chain, who knows what really happened to my returns?

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2 thoughts on “TurboTax sells access to your data

  • imarunner2012

    Great. I’ll have to look for those cookies.
    I’m getting freakin tired of everyone collecting every nuance of my life so that they can sell it to someone who can do analytics on my big data and predict which brand of toilet paper i’m going to buy and decide weather or not to insert a 20 cent coupon into my Sunday paper. WTF?
    I have a blog post almost ready to go on this. Each time I go to work on it I get pissed and have to stop.

  • simpletax.ca

    Thankfully turbo tax doesn’t have a linux version so I was forced to search for alternatives. I found simpletax.ca and used it, it was wonderful, and now I just cannot understand why doing my taxes used to be such a pain. Screw those turbotax clowns and the spam they’ll constantly send you year after year begging for business like the pathetic losers they are.