After Firefox and Opera, Google too removes AVG and AVAST extensions from the Chrome store. The accusation is to collect too much data on users
After Mozilla and Opera Software, finally also Google moves to protect the privacy of users and removes from its store the Chrome extensions Avast Online Security, AVG Online Security, Avast SafePrice and AVG SafePrice, linked to the security suites of the Avast group.
At the beginning of this month, in fact, Adblock Plus creator Wladimir Palant had made it known to everyone that Avast and AVG extensions were raking users' browsing data without any real reason for security purposes. Officially, in fact, those extensions collect data to block unsafe sites, but according to Palant the quantity and quality of the collected data was absolutely unjustified. The four extensions, in fact, silently collected this information as well: URLs of the pages visited, title of the pages, how the user arrived on each page, country code, browser used, operating system. That's a lot for a service that should simply check if a web page requested by the user is on the blacklist of dangerous pages.
Google removes extensions
It wasn't just Avast and Avg extensions for Google Chrome that behaved abnormally, but also those for Opera and Firefox browsers. Mozilla removed them almost immediately, Opera Software after a further report by Palant which, in early December, having not yet received a response from Google, went so far as to ironically say: "Extensions are removed from the Chrome Web Store only after they make the news. Does anyone have a contact at Google who can help out?". Now Google has "woken up" and removed the extensions, leaving only AVG Online Security online.
The extensions will be back
It should be pointed out, however, that Avast (which also owns the AVG brand), in recent weeks has been working together with Mozilla in order to "clean up" the extensions and make them less intrusive to users' privacy. This has led to a new publication of all extensions on the Mozilla Firefox add-on store. It is very likely, therefore, that the same will happen shortly with the extensions for Opera and Chrome. But the message has been sent: it's not enough to offer a free online security service to get away with collecting user data and then selling it anonymously.