Antivirus vendor Avast pulls CCleaner update following customer backlash over privacy

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Antivirus vendor Avast pulls CCleaner update following customer backlash over privacy

Antivirus vendor Avast has shelved the latest version of subsidiary Piriform's CCleaner software following customer backlash over privacy concerns.

The software utility has reverted back to version 5.44 from version 5.45 Friday, after changes in reporting usage statistics generated concern with CCleaner possibly accessing and sharing personal data.

“We have removed version 5.45 and reverted to version 5.44 as the main download for CCleaner while we work on a new version with several key improvements,” developer Piriform said in a forum post.

“We’re currently working on separating out cleaning functionality from analytics reporting and offering more user control options which will be remembered when CCleaner is closed. We understand the importance of this to you all. This work is our number one priority and we are taking the time to get it right in the next release.”

Piriform, which Avast acquired in July 2017, said the changes in reporting was meant to help detect bugs faster, identify pain points in the UI design and also understand which areas of functionality will be focused on.

A report from Betanews said active monitoring “refuses to stay turned off”, privacy settings have been removed in the free version, and that users were unable to quit the software.

The changelog of version 5.45 read: “CCleaner now sends a heartbeat every 12 hours which reports up-to-date usage statistics to allow for faster delivery of bug fixes and product improvements.”

Piriform came to its defence on the forum, saying that most modern software companies collect anonymous usage data due to its usefulness in prioritising bug fixes and future improvements in the product experience.

“To be clear, CCleaner does not collect any personal data. Some of you told us that you do not want to share even anonymous usage data,” Piriform said.

“After listening to your feedback we realise we need to provide you with a better level of control for anonymous data collection.”

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