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AVG Acquires Online Privacy Firm PrivacyChoice

AVG Technologies announced that it has acquired PrivacyChoice, an organization that helps make privacy easier through a variety of Web and Browser-based tools.

The main tool offered by PrivacyChoice, Privacyfix, is browser plugin that helps users to manage their privacy settings across Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and thousands of other websites.

Through an online dashboard, users can see which companies are tracking them online, which websites may share personal information, and which have experienced data breaches in the past, the company said.

Privacyfix is currently available in the US for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, with Microsoft Internet Explorer and other international markets to follow.

Privacyfix will also be made available this year for iOS and Android, AVG said.

“Since founding, our mission has been to deliver more effective and more informed choices about how your data is collected, used and shared,” said Jim Brock, PrivacyChoice's founder, who will become Vice President of Privacy Products for AVG. “We saw strong synergies between our approach and the efforts AVG continues to make in empowering people when it comes to their online privacy.”

“Our two companies share a vision of empowering consumers to manage their personal information and preferences as they live out their lives online. This is a key part of our commitment to delivering privacy, protection and performance software solutions across multiple platforms and devices,” mentioned John Giamatteo, Chief Operating Officer of AVG Technologies.

While AVG is best known for its anti-virus and Internet security products, the company has made advancements in areas of user privacy.

In March 2012 the company launched a "Do Not Track feature", which helps users gain increased privacy by letting them know what tracking activity appears to be taking place, and gives them the choice to block tracking elements directly, piece by piece. The do not track feature is available in AVG’s free and premium (paid) product suites.

“We believe in allowing consumers to take control of their online privacy and this acquisition is a perfect demonstration of the active steps we are taking to support this vision,” Giamatteo said.

PrivacyChoice also offers data and tools for online publishers and third-party application developers to support more informed and protective data practices.

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For more than 10 years, Mike Lennon has been closely monitoring the threat landscape and analyzing trends in the National Security and enterprise cybersecurity space. In his role at SecurityWeek, he oversees the editorial direction of the publication and is the Director of several leading security industry conferences around the world.