AVG...what the heck?

What do you do when the very companies entrusted to keep our computer "safe" sell out? This is exactly the question facing every AVG user. I understand a company has to make a dollar, and no-one is attacking the essentials of capitalism, but what AVG has done goes beyond just "making a dollar". They have openly, and proudly, announced their one page privacy policy which is a great idea, but what it reveals is just plain frigthening. Here's the highlights:

What sort of non-personal data do AVG collect?

  • Advertising ID associated with your device;
  • Browsing and search history, including metadata;
  • 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.

What do they do with this?

"we collect non-personal data to make money from our free offerings so we can keep them free"

Here's what they say about personally-identifiable data:

"We may also aggregate and/or anonymize personal data we collect about you. For instance, although we would consider your precise location to be personal data if stored separately, if we combined the locations of our users into a data set that could only tell us how many users were located in a particular country, we would not consider this aggregated information to be personally identifiable,"

Here's the rub though: they still collect the data and attempt to clean it after the fact. How much do you trust their infrastructure, staff, contractors...? They have just broadcast to the world "hey everyone, we snoop our users and their personally identifiable data...come hack us!". This is a veritable gold mine for malicious players and AVG have painted a target on their back.

So what can you do? Simple: remove AVG and find a new anti-virus solution. My suggestion is to go with either:

  1. Avira Free. Their paid offering isn't obscenely expensive either.
  2. Bitdefender Free. Very low resource utilisation and very capable anti-virus solution.

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