Suspected Russian Hackers Target Macs; a Visor for the Legally Blind

Posted February 15th, 2017 at 1:04 pm (UTC-4)
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Today’s Tech Sightings:

FILE - A guest points to a MacBook Pro during an Apple media event in Cupertino, California, U.S. Oct. 27, 2016. (Reuters)

FILE – A guest points to a MacBook Pro during an Apple media event in Cupertino, California, U.S. Oct. 27, 2016. (Reuters)

Russian Cyberspies Blamed for US Election Hacks Now Targeting Macs

Bitdefender cybersecurity researchers have uncovered a Mac OS Trojan that probably was used by the Russian hackers blamed for breaching the U.S. Democratic National Committee last year. The program, called Sofacy or X-Agent, has been around for other operating systems, but researchers believe this is the first Mac version. The malware can probe the system and grab passwords, among other things.

This ‘Star Trek’-like Headset Helps Legally blind See Again

Remember Geordi La Forge in the sci-fi TV series ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’, a blind character with a visor that helped him see? Well, there is now a similar device in real life called the eSight 3. The headset relies on a camera, high-resolution displays and optical prisms to render a video image to users with low vision. Liquid lens technology in the visor helps focus the camera very quickly and allows legally blind users on the move to have access to peripheral vision.

Apple Fights Back as Shareholders Demand More Diversity

Lack of diversity is a real problem in the tech industry, and not just in Silicon Valley. But tech giants, including Apple, say they are making progress. Some Apple investors, however, are trying to force the company to speed up its diversity initiatives, but say that Apple is trying to shoot down a proposal to diversify its board and senior management. Apple argues it has “much broader” diversity efforts underway and that it has made “steady progress in attracting more women and underrepresented minorities” in the past three years.

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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.

Cameroon Internet Blocked; Hidden Sensors Track Employees

Posted February 14th, 2017 at 12:55 pm (UTC-4)
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Today’s Tech Sightings:

FILE - An image showing Ethernet cables used for internet connections. (Reuters)

FILE – An image showing Ethernet cables used for internet connections. (Reuters)

Cameroon’s Internet Outage Is Draining Its Economy

Cameroon is under international pressure to restore internet services. Up to 20 percent of Cameroon’s population has been denied internet access since January, and the problem persists. By all accounts, the internet disruptions are thought to be politically motivated, targeting long-marginalized English-speaking populations in the country’s northwest and southwest. Neither the government nor internet providers have released any statements regarding the outage.

Microsoft Calls for ‘Digital Geneva Convention’

Microsoft’s president Brad Smith urged tech companies to declare themselves neutral in cases of cyberwar, while committing to 100 percent defense and zero percent offense. Speaking at the RSA computer security conference in San Francisco, Smith called for the creation of a “digital Geneva Convention” to define the rules for cyberwarfare.

New Office Sensors Know When You Leave Your Desk

The British newspaper Telegraph did this about a year ago. Employees discovered little black boxes installed under their desks that were keeping track to see if they were at their stations or goofing off. After the National Union of Journalists complained, the devices were removed. But the reality is there are more than 350 companies today tracking their employees with hidden sensors planted in lights, ID badges and other inconspicuous spaces, allegedly to maintain efficiency. Legally, the companies are within their right – to a point.

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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.

Google Wi-Fi Goes to India; Stuxnet-like Malware Spreading Worldwide

Posted February 9th, 2017 at 11:51 am (UTC-4)
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Today’s Tech Sightings:

FILE – An Indian traveler uses a free Wi-Fi service to browse the net at Mumbai Central Train Station in Mumbai, India, Jan. 22, 2016. (AP)

Google Wi-Fi Station Project Is Coming to India First

Google Station, a project that aims to bring fast Wi-Fi connectivity to railway stations and other public places, will launch for the first time in Pune, a city southeast of Mumbai, India. The project is a collaboration between several local and international tech and IT companies, as well as local governments. According to Google, the aim is to create an internet for the “next billion users.”

Anyone Could Become an Online Troll?

A new study from researchers at Cornell and Stanford universities suggests that, depending on mood swings, anyone can become an online troll. Internet trolls are people who post inflammatory comments or off-topic remarks that disrupt other people’s conversations and upset them. Study participants who took either easy or difficult tests, were then asked to comment on online content. Thirty-five percent of the more docile group posted trolling comments, while nearly 50 percent of those who took the difficult test or saw trolling posts were inclined to troll.

Malware Related to Stuxnet Infects More Than 100 banks Around the World

New memory-based malware discovered by Kaspersky Lab has gone mainstream and hit in 40 countries and up to 140 organizations. The malware is related to Stuxnet, a worm used against Iran’s nuclear facilities seven years ago and largely believed to have been created by the U.S. and Israel. The new malware derives from that strain and has already infected more than 100 financial institutions around the world.

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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.

‘Invisible’ Malware Circulating Globally; China to Control Citizens’ Apps

Posted February 8th, 2017 at 10:46 am (UTC-4)
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Today’s Tech Sightings:

FILE - DRAM memory chips are pictured in Taiwan. (Reuters)

FILE – DRAM memory chips are pictured in Taiwan. (Reuters)

‘Invisible’ Memory-based Malware Is Infiltrating Organizations Worldwide

Kaspersky Lab’s cybersecurity researchers have discovered that hackers are using legitimate software and tools to hide malware in the memory of targeted computers to infiltrate organizations. The attacks are thought to have targeted 140 organizations, including banks, telecommunications companies and government organizations as criminals search for login credentials and financial data.

China Wants to Control Its Citizens’ Apps

Western companies, like Google, are having a tough time taking their app stores to China as the government tries to control what apps its citizens install on their devices. The Cyberspace Administration of China had ruled that app stores have to register with the government to curb fraud and copyright infringement. But the registration also requires app stores to keep track of user activity for 60 days and hand over to police anything Beijing deems as “illegal content.”

US Considers Asking for Social Media Passwords for Visa Applications

People looking for an entry visa into the United States might have to provide social media details if they are from Muslim-majority countries included in the U.S. travel ban, currently being challenged in court. The countries are Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said the move is being considered in an effort to toughen measures to screen out visitors who might be a potential threat. Those who refuse to provide social media credentials would be denied entry, according to Kelly.

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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.

Feb. 7 Is Safer Internet Day; Some iOS Apps Put User Data at Risk

Posted February 7th, 2017 at 11:48 am (UTC-4)
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Today’s Tech Sightings:

An internet user gets ready to use Google search in this photo illustration taken in Brussels on May 30, 2014. (Reuters)

An internet user gets ready to use Google search in this photo illustration taken in Brussels on May 30, 2014. (Reuters)

On Safer Internet Day, Here’s How to Get Your Online Life Secured

February 7, 2017 is Safer Internet Day, which shines a light on unhealthy online habits and promotes better privacy and safety practices. Your Google searches – and trips to various ad-funded websites – tip off advertising companies to all sorts of information about where users have been and how they behave online. But there are a few things you can do to protect yourself.

Dozens of Popular iOS Apps Leave User Data Vulnerable to Attack

Some iOS apps that should encrypt user data have misconfigured encryption settings, according to Will Strafach, CEO of Sudo Security Group. Strafach claims that programming code has been accidentally misconfigured to accept invalid security certificates in 76 apps, which were downloaded 18 million times.

Fighting Fake News Isn’t Just Up to Facebook and Google

Google and Facebook just joined forces to fight online fake news, introducing filters and tools to track how fake news content is generated and to keep some of it out. But academics and researchers doubt these tools will put an end to fake news and argue that the fight isn’t just up to social media and tech players. Education and awareness, they say, are the key to fostering a critical mind that questions news sources and explores alternative ones.

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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.

Education Tech Pulls Children’s Future Out of Rubble of War

Posted February 3rd, 2017 at 11:30 am (UTC-4)
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FILE - Children watch volunteer teachers perform a puppet show inside a mobile educational caravan for children who do not have access to schools on the outskirts of Saraqib, Idlib province, Syria, March 10, 2016.

FILE – Children watch volunteer teachers perform a puppet show inside a mobile educational caravan for children who do not have access to schools on the outskirts of Saraqib, Idlib province, Syria, March 10, 2016.

Wars around the globe have left 24 million children in 22 conflict-plagued countries with little hope for an education or a future. But through a host of partnerships, mobile technology and digital learning are finding a way to salvage that future.

Responding to the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), a call to companies to align their work with sustainable development goals, several nonprofits and organizations are working on education in conflict zones, where nearly one in four out of 109.2 million primary and lower-secondary school children are not going to school, according to UNESCO.

In Italy, utility firm Enel is working with the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on the Educate a Child program to guarantee primary school access to Syrian refugees. And in East Africa, where power is often unreliable, nonprofit Maendeleo Foundation provides low-income areas with mobile solar computer classrooms, and training programs in schools and communities across Uganda.

Another solution comes from Brck, a team of African developers and technologists who developed kits and tablets that can be recharged wirelessly. The units are designed to introduce digital education to African classrooms. While not free, they come with digital books, videos and other learning material applicable to the region.

One Laptop per Child

FILE - Abelbech Wagari sits near her son, Kelbesa Negusse as he plays with a tablet computer given to him by the One Laptop Per Child project in the village of Wenchi, Ethiopia. (AP)

FILE – Abelbech Wagari sits near her son, Kelbesa Negusse as he plays with a tablet computer given to him by the One Laptop Per Child project in the village of Wenchi, Ethiopia. (AP)

Operating out of Florida, nonprofit One Laptop per Child (OLPC) partners with local groups to provide laptops and educational material in communities around the world with little or no access to technology, be it as a result of conflict or poverty.

“We developed a laptop computer that was designed specifically for educational use by children,” said OLPC’s legal counsel, Leah Shadle. “And we have developed a comprehensive educational program that comes with the laptop that includes things like teacher training, technical support, monitoring and evaluation services.”

The tailored content “aligns with each school’s existing curriculum,” she said. It is not a substitute for federal and state curricula, nor are the laptops intended to replace existing educational tools.

“It’s just meant to be … an additional tool to enable teachers to keep the content that they already have to teach, but to do so in a really innovative and creative way,” she said.

A child uses a laptop provided by One Laptop per Child at a public library in Kigali, Rwanda. (OLPC)

A child uses a laptop provided by One Laptop per Child at a public library in Kigali, Rwanda. (OLPC)

One of the group’s projects in Rwanda is being implemented in collaboration with the government.

“We … maintain … a corner in the Kigali city library where our computers are available for children,” said Shadle. “… There have been refugees from Burundi who have moved into Kigali and then come to the computer lab at the library and who also are attending school once we have the program implemented.”

Call to action

These are just a few of the businesses and nonprofits tackling the education gap in conflict zones in collaboration with the United Nations and its partners.

UNGC, Sustainia, an international sustainability think tank, and DNV GL, an advisory and risk-management company, collaborate on an annual Global Opportunity Report that scouts out opportunities for businesses to implement sustainable development projects in areas of conflict.

“Children trapped in conflict, which is half out of school children in the world – they live in conflict areas. So for us to deliver on the sustainable development goals that’s really important,” said Marianne Haahr, Project Director at Denmark-based Sustainia.

The Global Opportunity Report queries thousands of business leaders about potential partnerships in high-risk markets. “And what surprised us the most was for sure that the business leaders across the globe see especially delivering digital learning tools to children in conflict as a very promising market opportunity,” she said.

Haahr is optimistic that education technologies, particularly personalized educational content and tailor-made algorithms that adapt to the needs of the child can help bridge the gap. But she cautioned that delivering this type of digital content will be a challenging task where public infrastructure has broken down.

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.

The Dilemma of Defining ‘Electronic Persons’; Facebook Turns 13

Posted February 2nd, 2017 at 12:46 pm (UTC-4)
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Today’s Tech Sightings:

FILE: People look at a RoboThespian humanoid robot at the Tami Intelligence Technology stall at the WRC 2016 World Robot Conference in Beijing, China, Oct. 21, 2016.

FILE: People look at a RoboThespian humanoid robot at the Tami Intelligence Technology stall at the WRC 2016 World Robot Conference in Beijing, China, Oct. 21, 2016.

Should Robots Be Treated Like Pets or People?

If a robot makes a mistake, who is accountable for any resulting harm or damage? The answer may appear simple, but experts are still divided on the matter. Some argue robot owners are accountable in the same way pet owners are accountable for the actions of their dogs, for example. Other experts at a British Academy panel say the whole traditional concept of ownership and liability needs to change, perhaps leading to some sort of definition of “electronic personhood.”

Facebook Marks 13th Birthday With New Friends Day Videos, GIFs

This Saturday, Facebook turns 13. The social media giant now boasts more than 1.86 billion monthly active users. To celebrate, Facebook reintroduced personalized videos and Messenger GIFs. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook will now focus on bringing groups and communities – and strangers – together through shared interests.

India’s Tech Titans Will Plead Immigration Visas Case Before Trump Officials

The CEOs of some of India’s largest IT and outsourcing firms are planning a trip to Washington on February 20 to appeal President Donald Trump’s impending changes to the U.S. immigration visa program. India’s technology sector provides some of the largest companies in Silicon Valley with skilled, low-cost labor. The CEOs plan to meet with U.S. lawmakers and administration officials to try and dissuade them from tightening visa restrictions. The 90-day entry ban affects seven countries – Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and Somalia.

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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.

US Travel Ban Rattles India, Pushes Silicon Valley to Action

Posted February 1st, 2017 at 1:24 pm (UTC-4)
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Today’s Tech Sightings:

FILE: Workers are pictured beneath clocks displaying time zones in various parts of the world at an outsourcing center in Bangalore.

FILE: Workers are pictured beneath clocks displaying time zones in various parts of the world at an outsourcing center in Bangalore, India.

Facing Visa Issues, Indian Outsourcers Have Strength in Numbers

The U.S. travel ban and impending changes to the immigration visa program are sounding alarm bells in India, which provides U.S. tech companies with skilled, low-cost talent. India’s booming outsourcing firms serve customers around the world and sometimes send representatives overseas to work onsite. Now, these companies are worried about contract delays and revenue declines as a result of the new restrictions. The travel ban affects seven predominantly Muslim countries – Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and Somalia, but travel restrictions associated with immigrant visas have already affected employees of some U.S. tech companies, such as Google and Apple.

Facebook’s Sandberg: Immigration Ban Defies US ‘heart and values’

In the U.S., a confrontation is brewing between Silicon Valley and the administration of President Donald Trump over the travel ban and immigration visas. As leading tech companies consider legal action to challenge the constitutionality of the president’s action, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said the ban goes against “the heart and values that define the best of our nation,” and is particularly “unforgiving of women.”

Security Flaws in Pentagon Computer Systems ‘Easily’ Exploited by Hackers

A cybersecurity expert warns that several servers run by the U.S. Department of Defense are “misconfigured.” The expert, Dan Tentler, founder of Phobos Group, said the vulnerabilities could give hackers or foreign actors easy access to government systems. The Pentagon was alerted to the vulnerabilities more than eight months ago but has not yet fixed them.

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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.

Beware These New Cyber Scams; the Augmented Future of Shopping

Posted January 31st, 2017 at 12:39 pm (UTC-4)
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Today’s Tech Sightings:

FILE - An online user searches different sites as he shops online. (AP)

FILE – An online user searches different sites as he shops online. (AP)

Five Ways Fraudsters Could Make a Fool of You

Criminals are constantly refining malware and finding new ways to fleece consumers, from phishing emails to adding followers that stalk you on social media to get you to click on a malicious link. Writer Tom Cheshire takes a look at some of the newest schemes criminals are hatching up to steal your money and data. Once you know what you’re up against, writer Zach Whittaker has a few tips that can help you protect yourself.

Game Publisher Wins Right to Store Your Biometric Facial Data

Video game publisher 2K now has the right to collect and store players’ facial data used in sports titles to create better avatars. 2K won a court case in New York against two gamers who were concerned about how the company intended to use their data. The judge ruled against them for lack of any evidence that face-scanning caused them ‘sufficient injury.’ But the landmark ruling raises questions about digital ownership rights for future considerations.

Supermarkets, Retailers Define Future Shopping Trends

British online retailer Ocado is using robot arms in its warehouse to pack orders as part of a European Union effort to create robotic arms that can handle fragile objects. For the moment, one of the key challenges is finding ways for the robotic arms to handle oddly-shaped items like fruits and vegetables without damaging them. In the U.S., clothing retailer Gap took a step toward augmented reality shopping with DressingRoom, an app that lets users try out clothes from the comfort of their home. Once shoppers offer up their size and measurements, they can then see how a garment they like looks on a computer generated image representing their body type.

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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.

Accessibility Still Not Out-of-the-box, but Cloud Can Help

Posted January 27th, 2017 at 12:04 pm (UTC-4)
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FILE - Leonardo Duarte, who lost his eyesight as a young adult victim of an attempted robbery, touches his computer screen as he listens to a special program that reads him messages and email from his Facebook page, at his home in Buenos Aires. (Reuters)

FILE – Leonardo Duarte, who lost his eyesight as a young adult victim of an attempted robbery, touches his computer screen as he listens to a special program that reads him messages and email from his Facebook page, at his home in Buenos Aires. (Reuters)

Cloud services can make life easier and more productive for the disabled community. But inaccessibility in end-user software and devices makes that potential difficult to realize. Now, a massive effort is underway to make accessibility solutions available whenever and wherever needed.

Rarely is accessibility at the forefront of new technologies. Those who drive technological innovation “don’t always think from the start about all of the different people who will be using that technology,” said Jeffrey Bigham, of Carnegie Mellon University’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute.

The argument is that new products would never be released if designers stopped to incorporate all kinds of features that might or might not be worth pursuing. But that deficit often leads to problems “when that technology becomes something that people need to use to keep up in the workplace and education and even entertainment,” he said.

“When something is used for any of those purposes, any purpose for everyday living that is not accessible, then you have a big problem,” he said. “I think that’s where the disconnect happens.”

That’s a real problem for people who are depending on these technologies, said University of Maryland’s Gregg Vanderheiden, Director of the Trace Research and Development Center.

“When Microsoft went from DOS to Windows,” he recalled, “there were all these people who were blind who were working as computer specialists throughout the United States. And in the course of about nine months, companies all started switching to Windows. … And all of these people were suddenly without a job because there were no screen readers for the Windows.”

The reason this happened is because support for screen readers that existed under DOS was not embedded in the new operating system. This creates a problem for disabled individuals who rely on assistive technologies  – aids that help them hear or see or interface with the computer or a cloud service to do their job or even land a job.

FILE – Accessibility Partners’ engineers audit a cloud-based software product . (Accessibility Partners, Jennifer Kline Vallina)

FILE – Accessibility Partners’ engineers audit a cloud-based software product . (Accessibility Partners, Jennifer Kline Vallina)

Companies with disabled employees and customers should ensure their development teams know how to maintain the accessibility code without “inadvertently’ creating “other inaccessible features,” said Dana Marlowe, president of Accessibility Partners, whose disabled employees use aids like screen readers, text-to-speech readers, or magnifiers for their work.

“The cloud  … could be always accessible as an environment through the storage of different cloud profiles on which the interface can be immediately customized based on the person with the disability and user preferences,” she said.

While some assistive technologies work as soon as they are plugged in, like keyboards, others need software support and higher-level security privileges to operate. Third-party assistive technologies, in particular, are sometimes identified as “malware or a threat” because they “reach into an application’s code,” said Accessibility Partners’ Communications Director, Sharon Rosenblatt.

Even if all of these settings are saved in the cloud, disabled individuals leaving their personal space will still run into problems. A paraplegic traveler, for example, who might need hands-free or speech-to-text interface, will not be able to access the airport’s touch-based check-in systems. But a cloud service providing customized Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) that can be downloaded on-demand might help bridge the gap, perhaps in conjunction with a USB or other portable device.

“This is some of the work that we’ve been doing for 10 years,” said Bigham. “And other people have been doing for about 10 years, where you actually have it so that the computer or the mobile device or maybe eventually the voice-controlled devices – they could download on-demand the interface that you need and then they could provide the interface that each person could use.”

But without out-of-the-box accessibility support, it’s hard to leverage “some of these really interesting benefits of having a cloud-connected device for accessibility,” said Bigham. “… We’re not yet taking advantage of the cloud for accessibility in the ways that we could.”

Out-of-the-box accessibility

FILE - A customer counts her money as she checks out at a register at Macy's on Black Friday in New York. (Reuters)

FILE – A customer counts her money as she checks out at a register at Macy’s on Black Friday in New York. (Reuters)

Ultimately, the problem with inaccessibility lies with the interface. And that interface, said Bigham, “is what ends up being most important. And it’s usually provided by the local device.”

“You go to the grocery store,” he added, “and you try to find the x … and sign at the cashier, and it’s really hard to do that for many people with disabilities because the device they have there is not accessible. And so you get these bad stories about people having to give their PIN number to the cashier just so they can pay for their groceries.”

Not much is being done to make new devices accessible out-of-the-box. And it is unclear to what extent manufacturers and feature designers can be compelled to do so.

“If it was a lot easier,” he added, “and if you could really achieve this idea of out-of-the-box accessibility for devices … and we’re seeing more and more devices created every day – if each device was accessible, then you wouldn’t have that sort of problem.”

It is doable. And the nonprofit Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure (GPII), a collaborative effort between the United States, Canada, Europe, and a host of global entities, is determined to promote accessibility solutions that work with all technologies.

GPII’s ‘auto-personalization’ discovers what a person needs to use information and communication technologies. A deaf person, for example, would need a visual interface. A blind person would need an auditory interface.

“When you sit down at the computer,” said Vanderheiden, “the individual would use a ring or a card or a USB … that basically says ‘here’s what I need.’ And the computer takes a key from that – a token [that] goes up to the cloud and it finds a listing not of who the person is, but what that person needs. And it comes back down and then it changes the computer or the phone or the device to match the needs of that user.”

The ability to do this gives disabled individuals that flexibility to really synchronize the cloud accessibility, their preferences, and be … productive,” said Marlowe.

While encouraging innovation, Rosenblatt urged technology leaders to include everyone in their design considerations, so that disabled individuals, who are significantly underemployed in the United States, have a better chance of joining the workforce.

But for this to happen, device makers and operating system manufacturers have “to work together very closely,” said Vanderheiden, and to continue collaborating closely “because every change made to the operating system risks breaking the [accessibility] information.”

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.