AVG defends pulled Windows Phone 7 app

Not long ago AVG released a free anti-virus scanner for Windows Phone 7 users. However, the app quickly came under criticism from users who said that the software not only tracked the mobile phone's location but also sent info such as the smartphone model and brand and the user's email address to AVG's servers. Microsoft's Brandon Watson confirmed on Friday via his Twitter page that the company had pulled the AVG app from the Zune Marketplace, saying, "Doing some investigations, but want functionality certainty."

AVG is trying to defend the app's features in the wake of the controversy. In a post on AVG's web site, it said that while it does collect location data via the app, it adds that the feature "allows a user to locate a phone in case it is lost or stolen. This feature is immediately available to all users so a phone can be tracked if it is lost straight away; otherwise, a user will find out the feature is disabled after the phone is lost or stolen, meaning the user could not locate the phone on a map. A user may opt-out of this feature at any time." It adds, "Locating a lost phone on a map requires GPS data, which is why the app requests geo location data with this feature enabled."

The web site showed two examples of what info AVG receives when the location based service is enabled or disabled. The example show no location info is displayed when the feature is disabled. It added that the company doesn't sell the info it does receive to anyone or share info with anyone without permission.

Some people have questioned why there is even a need for an anti-virus app for Windows Phone 7 since no viruses have been detected yet for the operating system. News.com reports that AVG's Chief Technology Officer Yuval Ben-Itzhak said the app is used for more than just anti-virus detection, saying, "It is also about protecting against outside threats that are using the Internet as an attack vector, threats such as phishing attacks for instance."

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