Updated AVG Privacy Policy Allows Selling User Browsing And Search History To Third Parties

AVG has long been considered one of the so called good guys in security software. It drew fan support for offering a no cost version of its antivirus software, which traditionally has worked quite well, but its reputation as a champion of the average Joe is now in jeopardy over a revised privacy policy.

As part of the new single-page privacy policy, AVG explains that it may collect and sell non-personal data to third parties. Such data might include a user's browsing and search history (including meta data) so that AVG can "make money from our free offerings" and "keep them free."


This kind of honest transparency can be unsettling, though in AVG's defense, this is the type of thing that many companies do, AVG is just being upfront about it. The company is also challenging other firms to develop simple privacy policies that detail exactly what data they collect and how they use it, just as AVG has done.

"Without privacy online, there can be no security; and without security, there can be no trust," said Harvey Anderson, Chief Legal Officer, AVG Technologies. "At AVG, we value our customers and believe they should know exactly how their information is being used by us. Therefore, we have updated our Privacy Policy to make it simpler, clearer and more transparent – representing only part of a continual evolution to improve AVG user choice and control."

Despite AVG's good intentions, the company is catching heat from some industry experts who believe its policy goes a bit too far. That includes Alexander Hanff, CEO of Think Privacy, who told Wired that selling browser and search history puts AVG "squarely into the category of spyware."

"It is utterly unethical to [the] highest degree and a complete and total abuse of the trust we give our security software," Hanff added.

The new policy, which you can read in its entirety here, goes into effect on October 15, 2015. It's also worth noting that users will have the option of turning off data collection without it affecting the software.