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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.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

At least 3 dead after Amtrak train derails in Montana

Photo: Jacob Cordeiro/Twitter

An Amtrak train derailed near Joplin, Montana, resulting in at least three deaths and multiple injuries to passengers and crew on Saturday, per a company statement.

The big picture: 141 passengers and 16 crew members were estimated to be traveling on the westbound Empire Builder train from Chicago to Seattle and Portland when eight cars derailed about 4p.m., per an Amtrak statement early Sunday.

Updated 52 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Federal judge blocks vaccine mandate for NYC teachers

Students are dismissed from the first day of school at PS 133 in Brooklyn on Sept. 13. Photo: Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images

A federal appeals court is set to hear a challenge Wednesday to a vaccine mandate planned for New York City school employees.

Why it matters The vaccine mandate was set to begin on Monday, prompting concerns over staffing shortages in schools across the nation's largest school system. But a judge on Friday temporarily blocked the measure, per AP.

New York prepares for staff shortages from health vaccine mandate

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul during a news conference Tuesday in New York City.. Photo: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) announced Saturday she would declare a state of emergency if there were health worker shortages due to New York's upcoming COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Why it matters: Hochul moved to reassure concerns of staffing shortages in the health care sector in a statement that also outlined plans to call in medically trained National Guard members, workers from outside New York and retirees if necessary when the mandate takes effect Monday.