Tech Sightings, September 24, 2014

Posted September 24th, 2014 at 2:08 pm (UTC-4)
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Taiwan Probes Xiaomi on Cybersecurity

Taiwanese authorities launched an investigation into whether China’s leading smartphone maker, Xiaomi, poses a cybersecurity risk. The probe started following reports that some of Xiaomi’s phones automatically send user data to its servers in mainland China. The results of the investigation will be released in three months.

Facebook to Start Testing Wi-Fi Drones Next Year

Facebook’s drone-based initiative, which plans to use light to beam data to people from drones and satellites, could launch its solar-powered drones by 2019. Several tech giants are working with Facebook and looking to create drones that can operate for months in the sky at altitudes ranging between 60,000-90,000 feet.

Saving Lives of Cameroonian Mothers, Babies With an SMS

Cameroon has a serious shortage of medical staff, particularly in remote areas. That often costs the lives of pregnant women and their children because they are unable to get the attention they need in time. But a new project sponsored by the United Nations Population Fund encourages people in need of medical help to use mobile texting and instant messaging to direct health officials to their location to get the help faster.

PayPal Testing Bitcoin Payments

PalPal’s announcement Thursday that it will partner with several bitcoin payment processors is a small step toward allowing its customers to use cryptocurrency to buy digital products.

Researcher Discloses Wi-Fi Thermostat Vulnerabilities

U.K.-based digital thermostat maker, Heatmiser, has alerted its customers to possible security risks in its popular Wi-Fi thermostat. The move follows a report by a security researcher who found vulnerabilities in several of the company’s products.

What Happens to Windows 7 on October 31, 2014?

Microsoft will stop providing its partners copies of Windows 7 to be preinstalled on new PCs after October 31, 2014. Mainstream support for Windows 7 with Service Pack 1 will continue until January 13, 2015. After that, Microsoft will not provide new features, but will continue its security updates until the end of extended Windows 7 support in 2020.

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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