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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Post-debate poll finds Biden strong on every major issue

Joe Biden speaks Friday about "The Biden Plan to Beat COVID-19," at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

This is one of the bigger signs of trouble for President Trump that we've seen in a poll: Of the final debate's seven topics, Joe Biden won or tied on all seven when viewers in a massive Axios-SurveyMonkey sample were asked who they trusted more to handle the issue.

Why it matters: In a time of unprecedented colliding crises for the nation, the polling considered Biden to be vastly more competent.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
5 hours ago - Science

The murder hornets are here

A braver man than me holds a speciment of the Asian giant hornet. Photo: Karen Ducey/Getty Images

Entomologists in Washington state on Thursday discovered the first Asian giant hornet nest in the U.S.

Why it matters: You may know this insect species by its nom de guerre: "the murder hornet." While the threat they pose to humans has been overstated, the invading hornets could decimate local honeybee populations if they establish themselves.