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AVG is crowdfunding a router, but wait for its privacy policy


Antivirus company AVG is taking to Indiegogo to crowdfund a router called Chime that it believes will fix your home's WiFi issues. Solitarily, a Chime is a fairly simple 802.11ac dual-band router. Used together, multiple Chimes can instantly band together and blanket your house in a strong signal by utilizing the same Mesh WiFi systems you'll find in office buildings, malls and airports. It's not the first company to offer Mesh WiFi to consumers -- San Francisco startup Eero's boxes ostensibly do exactly the same thing -- but AVG believes the additional security features offered by Chime will be enough to persuade users to jump aboard.

Created by the company's Innovation Labs, Chime has privacy options baked in. AVG says it's "equipped with VPN and Tor," meaning you can connect through one of AVG's "hundreds of VPN servers" to mask your IP address and hide your browsing from your ISP, or connect to Tor's vast network of relays for another degree of (but never complete) anonymity. It also has AVG AntiVirus Free to protect you from viruses and similar threats.

The problem is, AVG hasn't exactly made headlines for the right reasons recently. In a September update to its privacy policy, AVG gave itself permission to collect its users' "browsing and search history, including meta data," among other things, and sell that information to third parties. It calls this information "non-personal" as companies won't be able to identify you with it. It adds that "if we become aware that part of your browsing history might identify you, we will treat that portion of your history as personal data, and will anonymize this information." This led to the obvious question: what happens if AVG isn't aware?

The privacy policy affects users of AVG's free services. Like AVG AntiVirus Free. The one that's included with Chime. The company tells Engadget that it hasn't worked out what the specific privacy policy covering Chime will be, but it'll be released soon. If you're concerned about the privacy complications, you might want to hold off on a pre-order. If you're okay with the possibility of its anonymous data collection being applied to all network traffic passing through your router, though, you can buy into AVG's campaign over at Indiegogo now.

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