AVG Adds Wi-Fi Do Not Track Feature for Android Users
Published on: 10th Dec 2013
By: Ian Mansfield
Anti virus software vendor AVG Technologies has launched an update for its Android app that disables the broadcast of a handset's MAC address to Wi Fi hotspots to prevent location tracking.
Most smartphones routinely broadcast their MAC address when in range of a Wi-Fi hotspot, even when they are not able to connect to it. That -- generally anonymous code -- can be used to track smartphone movements, and there have been privacy concerns raised about how that data could theoretically be used.
Some companies have tried to use it to target adverts on display hoardings based on the proximity of known smartphone handsets, or more usefully, it can be used to anonymously track crowd movements in shopping centres or other public areas for planning purposes.
The new feature within AVG PrivacyFix for Android enables users to have the Wi-Fi on their smartphones automatically suspended when they are out and about, only reconnecting in the vicinity of pre-set trusted Wi-Fi location.
"Using Wi-Fi technology to capture our location data in stores provides retailers with analytics. The problem is that consumers have limited notice of these activities, often no opportunity to opt-out, and many may not realize they are even being observed in this way," said Gary Kovacs, Chief Executive Officer, AVG Technologies. "My view is that trust is at the heart of all successful transactions. Take that away, and you devalue technology's significant potential."
AVG PrivacyFix featuring the new Wi-Fi DNT feature has been developed as an additional element to the existing AVG PrivacyFix application.