AVG: we collect and sell browsing history of free antivirus users

The new privacy policy of antivirus vendor AVG caused uproar because it states the free version of the antivirus software will collect the browsing history of users and sell it to third parties.  The privacy policy is only one page long and should be, according to AVG, an example to other software companies.

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The antivirus vendor calls for other companies to write similar short privacy policies but Reddit users question the contents of the new policy in which AVG states it collects non-personal user data to be able to continue to offer their software for free.

AVG writes, “While we cannot list out each and every type of non-personal data that we collect, we’ve tried below to give you a general understanding of what types of non-personal data we collect and examples to help you see what we mean.”

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The company then provides a list in two parts on how it collects data about malware and threats and where and how the AVG software is used. In the second part the company also states it collects data on the user’s browsing and search history and information on applications on the device including how they are used.

AVG stresses that if it finds personal identifiable data, it will anonymise it. Users are concerned about that, as the data first reaches the AVG servers and is only anonymized if the AVG algorithms are good enough.

The antivirus vendor states in the privacy policy that users can opt out of the use or collection of certain data but the page where that should be possible only offers the option to unsubscribe from AVG newsletters.