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Privacy and Entitlement

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By Corey Washington

Entitlement is a slippery topic, especially when African-Americans are in the center of the subject. For eons (actually, just a couple of centuries) we've had our fair share of issues revolving around the subject. Of course, there is the elusive story about Blacks being short-changed out of the promised Forty acres and a Mule.

Then there's the controversial topic of reparations which occasionally pops up in mainstream media. And finally, the perception by some non-Blacks that we feel entitled to anything and everything we can wrap our hands around.

I won't debate the validity of any of those ideas, but I will say that we (and everyone else in the free world) are entitled to our privacy.

It's been documented that African-Americans, particularly teens, use peer-to-peer, file-sharing applications such as Kazaa and the less-than-popular Xolox at an increasingly high rate. But what isn't being documented is the amount of spyware that comes with the applications.

I'm a huge proponent of updating software for security purposes, even if automatic updates don't suggest you do so. What you don't know can hurt you.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the most recent version of Kazaa requires that you download advertising software from the GAIN network, if you want to use its "free" service.

Depending on how you look at it, its a fair deal. Kazaa has to make money and keep its business afloat. But the words fairness and software piracy still don't seem to go hand-in-hand.

Here's the problem:

Advertising software (sometimes considered spyware) follow your online activities and eventually route the information back to a central source. It may sound like a lot of work to track your spending habits and interests on the world wide web, but its a common routine millions of PC users grapple with on a regular basis.

For those of you who don't know about this, the news only gets worse.

Spyware is not as evident as you would think. But, I guess the word "spy" would not be an appropriate or wise term if it was obviously visible on your computer.

The point is, spyware can damage your computer with trojans (similar to computer viruses) and end up causing applications like Internet Explorer to no longer function as it was intended.

But there is hope out there ... a lot of it.

Instead of spending this week writing about problems in technology affecting Blacks (and others) and hoping someone else solves it, I'll just do the whole thing myself.

Here's a quick solution: Go to Google. In quotes, type in the word CWSHREDDER. It should look like this "CWSHREDDER" before you initiate the search. Choose a professional web site to download the program from.

This program is relatively light for something that helps so much.
Your technology columnist plans to make a habit of providing the solutions and empowering those who need help.

In fact, try to stump me. Send me information about your computer problems (no personal problems, please) or ask me a question about what's hot in tech right now.

If its related to technology and you’re not certain, let me know.

This offer is well-overdue, but available for a limited time only.

There are so many issues outside of technology that remain to be unresolved; let me help get rid of at least one.

For feedback, send your e-mails to tekreporter@yahoo.com.

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