Mozilla Removes Avast and AVG Add-ons Over Excessive Data Collection

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Mozilla Firefox, one of the widely used web browsers, has made a strong decision to take down the four security extensions of Avast and AVG because these extensions were collecting excessive user data and browsing history. These extensions which are now forbidden by Firefox are Avast Online Security, AVG Online Security, Avast SafePrice, and AVG SafePrice.s

Out of them, Avast and AVG online security was developed for notifying malicious and suspicious websites to the users while the other two extensions show details of online shopping, quoting and comparing prices, grabbing best deals and discounts.

Mozilla has taken the decision of removing the above-mentioned extensions based on a report by Wladimir Palant, who has created the Ad-block and Ad-block plus extension.

Wladimir has presented his report after analyzing and inspecting Avast Online Security and AVG Online Security extensions in October this year. He concluded in his report that both of the extensions were collecting information like the user’s browsing history and data that has nothing to do with their operations. Google Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox both prohibited the practice of collecting personal and private details of the users.

To reveal his findings of Avast Online Security and AVG Online Security extensions, Wladimir Palant has posted it on the blogpost on 28 October. He has also written another blog post today saying that the same findings he found are true for Avast SafePrice and AVG SafePrice. He informed that the browser authority will take the required actions. And as a result, all the 4 extensions are removed from the Firefox browser.

Avast Spokesperson said while speaking to ZDNet that “The Avast Online Security extension is a security tool that protects users online, including from infected websites and phishing attacks. It is necessary for this service to collect the URL history to deliver its expected functionality. Avast does this without collecting or storing a user’s identification. We have already implemented some of Mozilla’s new requirements and will release further updated versions that are fully compliant and transparent per the new requirements. These will be available as usual on the Mozilla store in the near future.”

Where Firefox has shown promptness in removing the snooping extensions, all the 4 extensions still exist on Google Chrome. In this regard, Palant said that there is only one link through which one can report such issues to Google and i.e. ‘Report Abuse link’. According to Palant, he has reported the issue to Google authorities but he added that Google takes action after considerable news coverage.

However, it is expected that Google will soon take action to take out these extensions from the browser as it has been seen earlier that Google has removed the ‘Stylish’ extension for a particular period until it removed the code that used to collect user’s data.

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