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AVG launches ‘Do Not Track’ smartphone service

Security firm AVG has developed a free update to its PrivacyFix app that is able to block wifi location tracking data.

The "DNT" feature will allow users to prevent advertisers from tracking their locations for the first time.

Currently only available on Android devices, the update will prevent smartphones from sending their unique MAC address that advertisers use to determine the physical location of users.

Michael McKinnon, Security Advisor at AVG Technologies AU, said: "Privacy is now a very difficult concept to define and even more difficult to secure, largely due to a deep lack of awareness of the issues and the ability to resolve them.

"Many people have no idea of the extent to which their personal information is being collected and traded, while others are put off by the sheer difficulty of trying to find the privacy settings embedded deep in their favourite sites."

Location data is increasingly being used by retailers and advertisers, however the transparency of such practice is not meeting "meaningful standards", according to vice president of privacy products at AVG Jim Brock.

The PrivacyFix app circumvents the advertising industry's own self-imposed transparency standards by providing an automatic block of more than 1,200 trackers that follow online movements.

"There's so much that is positive about our exploration of the online world," McKinnon said. "It is unfortunate that many people have restricted their participation in social networking because of their inability to control privacy and access to their personal information.

"With this free app from AVG, you can be as open or hidden as you like. And, you can sit comfortably on the privacy fence."