AVG Introduces “Do Not Track” Feature to Protect Online Privacy

AVG Technologies (NYSE: AVG), the provider of Internet and mobile security to approximately 108 million active users, today launched its active “Do Not Track” feature to the mainstream Internet security marketplace.

“This new feature is all about putting control of online privacy in the consumer’s hands. At AVG, we help provide Internet users with peace of mind – and today, making users aware of issues with online privacy is a logical extension of our community centric platform,” said JR Smith, CEO of AVG Technologies. “We believe all Internet users are entitled to know how their online data is collected and used – and they should have possible solutions available. At AVG, we are proud to continue to work on innovative technologies focused at supporting Internet users to protect and stay in control of their own online privacy.”

Today, it is commonplace for websites to collect data about users. While not inherently bad, some sites share user data with third parties – and consumers as well as policy makers, are growing increasingly concerned about this practice. For example, some forms of tracking allow advertisers to follow users around the Internet and deliver targeted advertising across multiple websites in ways consumers are unaware.

“We continue to listen to our approximately 108 million-strong community and we are constantly focused and driving our research and development to the creation of innovative technologies,” added AVG Technologies CEO JR Smith. “Today we deliver another important milestone with an active Do Not Track feature available in the latest version of AVG 2012 and through our latest product update for existing customers. This feature is available for free because we believe all consumers have the right to take back control of their online privacy.”

Last month, the Obama administration proposed a “Consumer Bill of Rights” for privacy and the EU has previously proposed similar initiatives. AVG’s Chief Policy Officer, Siobhan MacDermott, added: “AVG is assuming a leadership role in the future of consumer privacy, and is involved in policy discussions on both sides of the Atlantic. The reason AVG launched “Do Not Track” is that we believe consumers have a right to worry-free protection and control over their own online privacy.”

Passive “Do Not Track” was introduced by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and relies on users’ voluntary adherence to this feature notification. This W3C Service Pack adds passive Do Not Track and is on by default. However, because compliance is voluntary, it doesn’t give the consumer real control over data collection. By contrast, AVG’s additional new and active “Do Not Track” feature brings online privacy control to mainstream consumers by informing them and offering the choice to block tracking directly or turn it on and off as desired.

New customers who purchase AVG’s 2012 product and current customers who update AVG’s free and paid 2012 consumer security products with the new Service Pack will be automatically protected from sites and networks that invade their online privacy. At the same time, users can modify this default setting from within the user interface – putting control firmly in the hands of consumers.

Another new Service Pack feature is WiFi Guard – offering protection from unknown WiFi access points. Laptops that are set to automatically connect to any available WiFi network are convenient when roaming, but can expose users to security risks. For example, cybercriminals can set up rogue WiFi access points using the name of a popular coffee shop chain, hotel or public WiFi provider, and then eavesdrop and breach consumer security. Now, after installing AVG’s 2012 Service Pack, a pop-up window automatically warns users if their device attempts to connect to a never-before-used public WiFi access point.

AVG Introduces "Do Not Track" Feature to Protect Online Privacy 1