Apple’s Researchkit Ethics; Bye-Bye Barbie; PlayStation Mobile to Shut Down

Posted March 11th, 2015 at 2:30 pm (UTC-4)
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Today’s Tech Sightings:


Plans to Censor South Africa’s Internet Called ‘Unconstitutional’

A campaigning group called Right2Know has blasted proposed policies released last week by the South Africa Film & Publication Board to regulate online publications and vet their content. Right2Know said the document gives authorities too much room to infringe on citizens’ constitutional right of free speech.

Apple’s ResearchKit: ‘Ethics Quagmire’ or Medical Research Aid?

Potentially a great help to medical research, Apple’s new ResearchKit is a software platform that lets medical researchers create iPhone apps to recruit volunteers for their studies and work with them remotely. But there are issues relating to privacy, data security and data-sharing which need to be ironed out to protect participants and ensure that they are fully aware of the risks of their participation in medical research.

Privacy Advocates Try to Keep ‘Creepy,’ ‘Eavesdropping’ Hello Barbie From Shelves

If you missed this story, the Barbie you grew up with is not what it used to be. A recent incarnation, Hello Barbie, comes with voice recognition and reportedly listens in for its owners’ preferences and adapts accordingly. But Georgetown University’s Center on Privacy and Technology has expressed concern about the amount of information Barbie collects from children and its potential uses.

Kik Adds Tools to Prevent Child Exploitation on Messaging App

Canada-based Kik Interactive, whose messaging app is popular with young users, is taking steps to make sure kids are not exploited or subjected to abuse. The company announced that it has joined the Virtual Global Taskforce, an anti-child-abuse group, and adopted Microsoft’s PhotoDNA technology to detect and delete child pornography.

How One Tech Firm Got 10,000 Dogs Running Again With 3-D Printed Implants

A partnership between 3D Systems, which created a prosthetic knee last year to help out a disabled dog, Derby, has partnered with Rita Leibinger Medical to create and print metal orthopedic knee implants for dogs with injuries in their hind leg ligaments.

Advertisers Can Now Find Out What Facebook Users Are Talking About

If you are a Facebook user, the tech giant now allows advertisers to mine your posts for topical data — meaning they can search for key words and phrases to understand what people are saying about their products. Marketers can use anonymous data provided to them by Facebook to figure out the demographics of the users in significant detail.

Sony to Shut Down PlayStation Mobile

Sony Computer Entertainment announced it will cease content distribution on its PlayStation Mobile platform as of July 15. In-app purchases, re-downloads, and PlayStation for Android content will be discontinued as of September 10.

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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