You have to respect a company that’s willing to spell out they are making money off your data. Most companies hide behind enough legalese to calm Nancy Grace. Trust me, that’s a lot of legalese to get her to stop shouting.

Security firm and the program currently eating your computer’s resources like a redneck at Golden Corral, AVG, has updated its privacy policy to reflect they sell your data to the highest bidder.

That’s not exactly news. What else would they do with it? It’s the bluntness that is impressive.

“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 metadata
  • Internet service provider or mobile network you use to connect to our products
  • Information regarding other applications you may have on your device and how they are used.”

You guys have been selling my data? Man, I have to sit down. And that damn metadata. Somewhere, the NSA chief is smiling diabolically. How does AVG get away with it?

Well, you downloaded the free version. No such thing as free lunch applies to you surfing suspect websites and downloading attachment in your email promising however many millions from some Nigerian prince.

Speaking to Wired, AVG is quick to defend the change. They insist they are not selling data that makes an AVG user identifiable. The company might anonymize and aggregate the data to strip out identifying data points for individual users.

“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,” AVG’s privacy policy notes.

Right, well you gave away the game when you said you might anonymize the data. But what advertiser wants a data dump of anonymized data? Sorry AVG, you’ll have to bend the definition of what constitutes personal data. Otherwise, you wouldn’t make a damn thing.

“Those users who do not want us to use non-personal data in this way will be able to turn it off, without any decrease in the functionality our apps will provide. While AVG has not utilised data models to date, we may, in the future, provided that it is anonymous, non-personal data, and we are confident that our users have sufficient information and control to make an informed choice.”

Translation? Count on that option being buried somewhere deep in the options menu.

On one hand, the privacy nut in me hates they are tracking ‘non-personal’ data. I just don’t buy their murky definition of non-personal. On the other? Why the hell did I download the free version of AVG?

Still, props to a company that comes out and says in almost coherent legal terms what the company does with its data collection. Make money. Everything is being tracked.

I swear, the Eddie Bauer ads following my ass around the past week have been a bit much. I’m buying the damn parka. Chill already.

Gear. TV. Movies. Lifestyle. Photography. Yeah, I’m the type who sees a shiny object and is immediately captivated. Wait... There’s another. You can reach me at marcus@newsledge.com

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