No Free Lunch
Well it seems like the Free Anti-Malware outfit AVG is ready to cash in

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Security software firm AVG has defended changes in its privacy policy, due to come into effect on Thursday (15 October), allowing it to collect and resell users’ anonymised web browsing and search history.

AVG is not selling data to advertisers – yet – but if and when it does so it will “cleanse” the data so users can’t be individually targeted, according to Anscombe.

The security software firm says it will not sell personal information such as names, emails, addresses, or payment card details, and will try to “anonymize the data we collect and store it in a manner that does not identify you.”

However, effectively anonymising user data is a difficult task – especially in the era of big data, correlation and user behaviour. For example, researchers from Harvard University recently achieved a 100 per cent success rate in de-anonymising patients from their supposedly anonymised healthcare data in South Korea.

Furthermore, even if AVG can fully anonymise the data being sold to advertisers and affiliated brands, the issue remains that it’s uncomfortable (at best) for a security company to collect data on users before selling it off to third parties.

There is no free lunch. Like Gmail and other freebies – you’re the product!