Tech Sightings, August 7, 2014

Posted August 7th, 2014 at 2:15 pm (UTC+0)
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Can an African Virtual SIM Gamble Pay Off?

The New Delhi-based Bharti Airtel, in a deal with UK-based Movirtu, hopes  to do away with handsets, which are often shared among family members in Africa. Using a technology called Movirtu Share, Airtel hopes that the shared family phone could benefit from its virtual SIM, which allows users to store multiple numbers on one phone.

Experts Divided on Whether Robots Will Be Good for Society

Nearly half of about 1,896 technologists and futurists polled by the Pew Research Internet Project foresee robots displacing more jobs, leaving lower-paying and less secure jobs to human workers. Others dismiss any major effects of robots and Artificial Intelligence in the foreseeable future.

Making Video Games Accessible to Those With – and Without – Disabilities

Carlos Vasquez’ glaucoma put an end to his soccer activities, but it didn’t stop him from playing Mortal Kombat again  – taking his cues from the game’s stereo sound effects. He went on to reach last year’s finals at international fighting game tournament Evo. And earlier this year, he helped NetherRealm Studios add an accessibility mode to one of its fighting games.

Wait! Is That Potted Plant Eavesdropping?

MIT, Microsoft and Adobe researchers have found a way to turn ordinary objects into audiovisual tools. Researchers using high-speed video cameras to analyze the movements of objects like a plant or a can that are created by soundwaves were able to recreate audio from the silent video recordings. Playing a song near a plant, they used custom algorithms to detect movements not visible to the naked eye in the video and translate them into an audio file that recreates the song.

Google Search Starts Penalizing Websites that Don’t Use Encryption

In an effort to encourage websites to encrypt traffic with Transport Layer Security (TLS), Google has begun penalizing sites that are not using encrypted connections by ranking them lower on its search engine.

Top US Government Spyware Company Hacked

The company that makes FinFisher spyware, one of the world’s most secretive spy tools, has been hacked. The attack on Gamma has exposed a 40 gigabyte file to the Internet. FinFisher is exclusively sold to governments and law enforcement agencies worldwide.

Wi-Fi Flaw Gives Up Your Password

Swiss security researcher Dominique Bongard says random numbers created by many home Wi-Fi routers to protect the connection are not as random as they should be, meaning a hacker can easily figure out the  sequence of numbers.

Russian Hacking Case Highlights Lack of Global Cyber Cops

While researchers evaluate the scope of the recent hacking of credentials by a Russian crime ring, described as the world’s largest, new questions are surfacing about how cybercrime should be fought.

Aida Akl
Aida Akl is a journalist working on VOA's English Webdesk. She has written on a wide range of topics, although her more recent contributions have focused on technology. She has covered both domestic and international events since the mid-1980s as a VOA reporter and international broadcaster.

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Whether you are in a big city or a small village – technology is in your hands, your pocket, your car, your home. It is everywhere. And everywhere, it is becoming us.

Techtonics looks at how technology intersects people’s lives, how it empowers them or traps them in a world increasingly obsessed with technological wonders even as privacy slips through its fingers. It aims to inform, discuss, and hopefully inspire.

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