AVG under fire for selling user browsing history to third parties

Sep 21, 2015 | Online advertising, Regulation

AVG has been criticised for its recently updated privacy policy, letting the computer security firm keep the browsing history of its users and sell that information on to third parties. The new policy comes into effect until the 15th of October and has already caught the eye of privacy advocates. The new policy makes clear […]

AVG has been criticised for its recently updated privacy policy, letting the computer security firm keep the browsing history of its users and sell that information on to third parties.


The new policy comes into effect until the 15th of October and has already caught the eye of privacy advocates.
The new policy makes clear that AVG will collect non-personal data such as “Browsing and search history, including meta data.”
AVG says it collects this data “to make money from our free offerings so we can keep them free.”
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Under the heading “What do you collect that cannot identify me?” the policy reads:

We collect non-personal data to make money from our free offerings so we can keep them free, 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.
Sometimes browsing history or search history contains terms that might identify you. If we become aware that part of your browsing history might identify you, we will treat that portion of your history as personal data, and will anonymize this information.
Do you share my data?
Yes, though when and how we share it depends on whether it is personal data or non-personal data. AVG may share non-personal data with third parties and may publicly display aggregate or anonymous information.

AVG even put out a press release to celebrate its new document, which indeed uses lots of plain English and includes brief summaries of each section at the top.
CEO Gary Kovacs even implored the rest of the tech industry to adopt similarly transparent policies.
The good news is that the company does appear to have a way for users to opt out once the privacy policy is active:

You have the right to opt out of the use or collection of certain data, including personal data and non-personal data, by following the instructions here*.
*Our NEW Privacy Policy goes live on 15 October as will these instructions.

You can read the new policy in full at the AVG Privacy Policy page.

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