Amazon Offerings Irk India; Americans Split on Encryption

Posted January 26th, 2017 at 11:03 am (UTC-4)
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Today’s Tech Sightings:

Motorists ride past an advertising for an Amazon product in Bangalore, India, Jan. 12, 2017.

Motorists ride past an ad for an Amazon product in Bangalore, India, Jan. 12, 2017.

Amazon Has an India Problem

Amazon, looking to expand in one of the world’s fastest-growing markets, has run into trouble with Indian officials on ‘sensitivity’ issues, for lack of a better word. First, it angered a lot of people a couple of weeks ago with a doormat bearing the Indian flag, for which it apologized, then it had esteemed independence icon Mahatma Ghandi featured on flip-flops. After that, the Indian government warned the company that it proceeds at its own peril if it continues its disregard for Indian symbols and icons.

Americans ‘Divided’ on Giving Feds Access to Encrypted Messages

A new report from Pew Research found that 46 percent of Americans would give the government access to their encrypted communications for criminal investigations. But 44 percent prefer unbreakable encryption for apps and messaging. Those in favor of strong encryption were predominantly Democrats and young adults. But the study notes that the numbers have evened out since last year’s Apple-FBI row over unlocking an encrypted iPhone for a terrorism investigation.

The Chinese News App With 600 Million Users That You’ve Never Heard of

It’s called Toutiao, which means headlines, and it has more than 60 million active daily users. The app uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to aggregate news, based on users’ interests. When it’s accessed, the app keeps track of users’ clicks to determine what they like or dislike and tailors its offerings accordingly. U.S. social media networks already use this approach, but Toutiao hopes to compete with giants like Facebook and Twitter in their own backyards as it hopes to go international in the next few years.


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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