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.

All posts by Aida Akl

Getting ‘Personal’ With Google Search; Germany Unveils Robot Priest

Posted May 30th, 2017 at 12:54 pm (UTC-5)
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Today’s Tech Sightings: Google Search Just Got a Lot More Personal If you are using any of Google’s products, then everything you do is being tracked so advertisers can pay big money for your data.  But the information also allows Google to personalize your search. A new “Personal” tab in the search menu shows you […]

Tech Giants Tap Into Autism Community for Fresh Talent

Posted May 26th, 2017 at 1:30 am (UTC-5)
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One percent of the world’s population is on the Autism Spectrum Disorder, a group of complex brain development disabilities. Most are unemployed or under-employed. But several tech companies are now actively courting autistic workers for their unique skills, particularly suited for computing. Adults on the Autism spectrum excel with analytical skills. They have an eye […]

‘WannaCry’ Clues Point to China as New Vulnerability Raises Red Flags

Posted May 25th, 2017 at 1:32 pm (UTC-5)
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Today’s Tech Sightings: WannaCry Ransom Note Analysis Points to Chinese-speaking Perpetrator Cybersecurity experts continue to comb through evidence to identify the criminals who launched the global ‘WannaCry’ ransomware attack. While initial speculation linked the attackers to North Korea, researchers at cybersecurity firm Flashpoint now say Chinese speakers could be behind the English and Chinese versions […]

Social Media Access Urged After UK Attack; New Ransomware Detected

Posted May 24th, 2017 at 2:10 pm (UTC-5)
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Today’s Tech Sightings: UK Takes on Social Media Giants After Manchester Terror Attack U.K. Home Secretary Amber Rudd has urged social media services like Facebook and Twitter to tackle terrorism posts and give law enforcement access to encrypted messages. The appeal followed an Islamic State terrorist attack at a Manchester pop concert that left 22 […]

Samsung’s Iris Scanner Fooled; N. Korea Denies ‘WannaCry Role’

Posted May 23rd, 2017 at 12:25 pm (UTC-5)
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Today’s Tech Sightings: Hackers Unlock Samsung Galaxy S8 With Fake Iris Samsung’s latest Galaxy S8 smartphone includes an iris scanner for users to lock and access their devices. But as previously demonstrated with fingerprints, biometric security measures can also be hacked. Researchers from the Chaos Computer Club were able to do just that. They took […]

Junub Games Reaches for Peace as South Sudan Wages War

Posted May 19th, 2017 at 11:30 am (UTC-5)
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Political feuds and ethnic violence in South Sudan have displaced more than 1.5 million people. Among them is a software engineer determined to push past hate to promote peace through games. “Hate is one of the things that is inciting violence in South Sudan right now,” Lual Mayen, a game developer from Juba, South Sudan, […]

The Cost of Sharing WhatsApp’s Data; APT3 Hackers Linked to Beijing

Posted May 18th, 2017 at 1:02 pm (UTC-5)
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Today’s Tech Sightings: Facebook Fined $122M in Europe for Misleading WhatsApp Filing European Commission antitrust regulators slapped Facebook Thursday with $122 million in fines for providing “inaccurate or misleading” information for the vetting of its $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp in 2014. The Commission said Facebook claimed it could not automatically match WhatsApp user accounts on […]

Apple Starts Production in India; WannaCry Infects Medical Devices

Posted May 17th, 2017 at 11:12 am (UTC-5)
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Today’s Tech Sightings: Apple Starts Assembling iPhones in India Apple has confirmed it is beginning initial production of its iPhone SE models in Bengaluru, India. The first batch will start shipping to local customers this month. Apple has been courting India, the world’s second-largest smartphone market, for some time in an effort to retake a […]

WannaCry Blame Game Points to North Korea

Posted May 16th, 2017 at 1:55 pm (UTC-5)
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Today’s Tech Sightings: The finger-pointing is underway in the massive WannaCry or WannaCrypt ransomware attack that affected nearly 150 countries, with security researchers suggesting North Korean hackers might be behind it and Microsoft blaming the U.S. government. The hackers allegedly used tools leaked by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) to exploit a vulnerability in […]

‘Smart Cities’ Are Not Just About Technology

Posted May 12th, 2017 at 11:30 am (UTC-5)
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‘Smart cities’ or high-tech communities are popping up in parts of the developing world to connect citizens, spur economic development, and provide better services. But some experts caution that these smart hubs are more about sustainability and quality of life than the technology that supports them. ‘Smart cities’ is hardly a term everyone agrees on […]