AVG risks alienating userbase by selling browser and search history to advertisers

Posted on Friday, Sep 18 2015 @ 13:54 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
AVG logo
Free antivirus maker AVG is causing quite a ruckus by announcing a new privacy policy that will allow the company to collect and sell your browser and search history to third parties.

The new policy will come into effect on October 15th and AVG claims it will use data that does not identify you, so-called non-personal data, to improve its services and to help keep their software free.

AVG is being very upfront about it, and promises users will be able to opt out if they don't feel comfortable with the data sharing scheme. In fact, AVG claims the previous privacy policy also allowed search history data collection, albeit with different wording. The anti-virus maker claims any non-personal data it collects will be cleaned and anonymized before being potentially sold to advertisers, but we can't help but feel this is the last thing people expect from anti-virus software.
AVG's potential ability to collect and sell browser and search history data placed the company "squarely into the category of spyware", according to Alexander Hanff security expert and chief executive of Think Privacy.

"Antivirus software runs on our devices with elevated privileges so it can detect and block malware, adware, spyware and other threats," he told WIRED. "It is utterly unethical to [the] highest degree and a complete and total abuse of the trust we give our security software." Hanff urged people using AVG's free antivirus to "immediately uninstall the product and find an alternative".
AVG privacy policy changes

Via: Wired

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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