Avast is shutting down a controversial subsidiary that shared anonymized user data with marketing clients.

Driving the news: For years, Avast, which offers users free antivirus services, sold user data to marketers through a subsidiary, according to a report from Motherboard and PC Magazine.

  • Jumpshot, owned by Avast, provided clients with a trove of detailed user profiles that were technically anonymized but contained browsing histories, device IDs and other potentially identifying information.

What they're saying: Avast initially responded by saying that users have always been able to opt out of having their data tracked by Jumpshot.

  • After the coverage sparked criticism, the company posted a longer defense and said it has shifted from the opt-out scheme to one that invites users to opt in instead.
  • Wednesday, CEO Ondrej Vlcek posted an apology and said he was shutting down Jumpshot immediately.

The bottom line: Antivirus vendors are in the business of protecting users from risk. Marketers sharing user data is a source of risk (as well as a privacy concern, even with "anonymization").

Our thought bubble: If you need an antivirus tool, it's probably the kind of software that's worth paying for upfront so the provider doesn't have to scrounge for shadier sources of revenue.

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Trump signs 4 executive actions on coronavirus aid

President Trump speaking during a press conference on Aug. 8. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump on Saturday signed four executive actions to provide relief from economic damage sustained during the coronavirus pandemic after talks between the White House and Democratic leadership collapsed Friday afternoon.

Why it matters: Because the Constitution gives Congress the power to appropriate federal spending, Trump has limited authority to act unilaterally — and risks a legal challenge if congressional Democrats believe he has overstepped.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 19,451,097 — Total deaths: 722,835 — Total recoveries — 11,788,665Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2. p.m. ET: 4,968,413 — Total deaths: 161,858 — Total recoveries: 1,623,870 — Total tests: 60,415,558Map.
  3. Public health: Fauci says chances are "not great" that COVID-19 vaccine will be 98% effective.
  4. Science: Indoor air is the next coronavirus frontline.
  5. Schools: How back-to-school is playing out in the South as coronavirus rages on — Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Howard to hold fall classes online.
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What's next for Lebanon after the Beirut explosion

Photo: Houssam Shbaro/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Beirut residents are still clearing rubble from streets that appear war-torn, days after a blast that shocked the country and horrified the world.

Why it matters: The explosion is likely to accelerate a painful cycle Lebanon was already living through — discontent, economic distress, and emigration.