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Who controls your digital assets post-mortem?

Just as you choose where your money goes after you die, you should be able to control your "digital assets" -- your online data -- when you pass away, according to a University of Illinois law professor.

Professor Jason Mazzone has written a paper titled "Facebook's Afterlife," which argues that federal agencies are responsible for safeguarding "digital afterlives" in the same manner that a bank has a duty to properly bequeath a deceased person's assets.

Mazzone, an expert in intellectual property law, says the U.S. government should take a solid role … Read more

Protect yourself with SpywareBlaster

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that's especially true when it comes to spyware; wouldn't you rather protect your system than spend hours trying to rid it of malicious visitors? SpywareBlaster is a simple program that provides protection from ActiveX-based software and unwanted cookies for both Firefox and Internet Explorer users.

SpywareBlaster has a simple interface that will be easy for even novices to navigate. The main screen shows the protection status for Internet Explorer, restricted Web sites, and Firefox. By default, protection is disabled for each of these, but you can easily … Read more

Senate delays Netflix, e-mail privacy fix after cops protest

A Netflix-backed bill to update an antique 1988 privacy law, crafted a generation before social networks and cloud computing became popular, was derailed today because of last-minute opposition from law enforcement officials.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who heads the Judiciary committee, postponed discussion on the proposal to update the dialup-era privacy law, likely pushing a final vote into the new Congress that will convene in 2013.

The delay comes two days after a phalanx of law enforcement organizations objected to the legislation, asking Leahy to "reconsider acting" on it "until a more comprehensive review of … Read more

Senators prepare to vote on Netflix and e-mail privacy

In 1988, when President Reagan signed a video privacy bill into law, computer users were sipping bandwidth through the tiny straws of 2400 bps modems, IBM was selling mainframe databases for over $200,000, and musician Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" was topping the charts.

Well, it turns out that politicians are no better at prognostication than the rest of us are. The clutch of lawyers and their aides on Capitol Hill failed to anticipate the rise of Netflix and Facebook, and their well-intentioned but brittle video privacy law is now at odds with modern … Read more

Norton 2013 offers good Windows 8 support, but struggles on benchmarks

Review: Symantec has moved Norton 360 to the same release schedule as Norton Internet Security and Norton AntiVirus, making them into a three-tiered strategy for consumer security. Norton AntiVirus is the entry-level product, with Norton Internet Security occupying the middle rung and Norton 360 aimed at people who want the most bang for the most buck.

Notoriously slow to respond to trends, the consumer security field is surprisingly not taking Windows 8 lying down. Norton and many of its competitors are optimizing their suites for Microsoft's new operating system ahead of its release, and Norton is combining that strategy … Read more

Rock stars put their ears in audiologist Julie Glick's hands

I met Julie Glick a few months ago with some folks from Ultimate Ears at a Head-Fi meeting in NY. UE was promoting a new set of custom-molded in-ear headphones, the Personal Reference Monitors, which are just now entering full production. In her NYC office, Glick can fully demonstrate these unique headphones, which are not only custom-molded to your ears but fine-tuned, soundwise, to your liking. Ultimate Ears technicians use the frequency curve you create to build your Personal Reference Monitors. I crafted my EQ curve in Glick's office; it was a lot of fun to design my sound. … Read more

Mobile users tend to distrust their phones

It turns out over half of U.S. mobile users are paranoid about their privacy -- not that they don't have reason to be. According to a new survey by the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project, 57 percent of mobile app users have either uninstalled or refused to install apps because of privacy concerns.

"Many cell phone users take steps to manage, control, or protect the personal data on their mobile devices," wrote the survey's authors, Jan Lauren Boyles, Aaron Smith, and Mary Madden. "More than half of mobile application users … Read more

Kaspersky 2013 ups the ante with exploit prevention

The 2013 updates to the Kaspersky protection suites bring to consumers some of the most advanced security technology currently available. It involves introducing an exploit prevention engine as part of the security suite, but also a Safe Money banking protection tool that you can interact directly with. The suite's scans aren't the fastest, but it definitely will protect you.

Installation Installing Kaspersky has been dramatically simplified over the past two years. Following on 2012's fuss-free install, the installer for 2013 will remove conflicting security programs and any detected malware automatically.

You're still on the hook for … Read more

Surf safely with Comodo Internet Security

Comodo Internet Security is a free antivirus and PC security solution that combines a number of effective security tools into one easy-to-use package. It's one of the latest challengers to enter the expanding field of free security bundles, with which it shares some important characteristics, such as cloud-based virus scanning and behavior analysis to counter zero-day threats, a sturdy firewall, sandboxing, and anti-spyware -- all controlled from a single access point that takes the guesswork and program-swapping out of the security equation. Each strives to satisfy advanced users and absolute beginners alike. Comodo Internet Security passes all those checkpoints … Read more

Protect yourself from smishing (video)

We've all heard about phishing attacks -- those spammy e-mails you get in your in-box imploring you to divulge your personal information. Now those annoying scams are coming to a cell phone near you -- it's called smishing, or phishing via SMS text message.

Text messaging is the most common nonvoice use of a mobile phone, and scam artists are taking full advantage of that. In fact, according to security firm Cloudmark , about 30 million smishing messages are sent to cell phone users across North America, Europe, and the U.K. Smishing is part of the much larger … Read more