AVG Can Sell Your Browsing History

AVG has updated its privacy policy and effective October 15th it reserves the right to sell your browsing history to ‘make money’.–PC Pitstop.

AVG Can Sell Your Browsing History

by Jim Hillier for Daves Computer Tips

Security firm AVG recently published its updated privacy policy and the backlash from users has been fast and furious. The new policy, which takes effect from October 15, makes it clear that AVG will collect non-personal data including:

  • Advertising ID associated with your device;
  • Browsing and search history, including meta data;
  • Internet service provider or mobile network you use to connect to our products; and
  • Information regarding other applications you may have on your device and how they are used
  • AVG says it collects this data “to make money from our free offerings so we can keep them free.”

    The company followed up with a press release proudly stating that the new privacy policy has been presented in plain language to make it abundantly clear to users just what data the company is collecting and what it does with that data. CEO Gary Kovacs even urged the rest of the tech industry to follow suit and adopt similarly transparent policies.

    I’ve little doubt the practice of collecting data for sale is not uncommon, however, it is rare to see a privacy policy that so simply and plainly discloses a company’s methods and motivations. The reaction to AVG’s new policy clearly illustrates why companies generally tend to obfuscate their data collection practices in long-winded and complex privacy statements overloaded with legalese. There’s no onus on them not to do so, and transparency often merely invites uproar.

    So, mountain or molehill? Article Continued Here

    AVG can sell your browsing and search history to advertisers | by James Temperton | 9/18/15 | Wired

    Security firm AVG can sell search and browser history data to advertisers in order to “make money” from its free antivirus software, a change to its privacy policy has confirmed.

    The updated policy explained that AVG was allowed to collect “non-personal data”, which could then be sold to third parties. The new privacy policy comes into effect on 15 October, but AVG explained that the ability to collect search history data had also been included in previous privacy policies, albeit with different wording.

    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”.

    Previous versions of AVG’s privacy policy stated it could collect data on “the words you search”, but didn’t make it clear that browser history data could also be collected and sold to third parties. In a statement AVG said it had updated its privacy policy to be more transparent about how it could collect and use customer data.

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