Tech Digest daily round up: WhatsApp allows stalkers to track users, claims report


WhatsApp activity records are allowing stalkers to track users online said cybersecurity firm Traced, in a new report.  When a person opens Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp, their status changes to show they are “online”. Because online statuses are public, they are being scraped by websites that log WhatsApp users’ activity records, says cybersecurity firm Traced which listed four different sites and apps offering this service. Some of these WhatsApp status trackers let users cross-reference a person’s online status with the times another person was online to understand if it’s likely the two have been messaging each other.  One service advertises itself with the tagline: “Track your friends, love, wife or kids!” A Reddit user said they had used a WhatsApp status tracker to track their partner’s activity while they were in a long-distance relationship. Telegraph 

Engineers at Purdue University say they have created a white paint that reflects up to 98.1% of sunlight and could cool surfaces 4.5ºC below ambient even under the noon-day sun. The new paint improves on the ultra-white paint the team at Purdue created last year. The newer paint is not only whiter but can also keep surfaces cooler than the previous formulation. It is said to be able to reflect up to 98.1% of sunlight – compared with the 95.5% of sunlight reflected by the researchers’ previous ultra-white paint – and sends infrared heat away from a surface at the same time. “If you were to use this paint to cover a roof area of about 1,000ft[93m2], we estimate that you could get a cooling power of 10kW. That’s more powerful than the central air conditioners used by most houses,” said Xiulin Ruan, a Purdue professor of mechanical engineering. Cooling Post 

Facebook’s Oversight Board has delayed its decision regarding former US President Donald Trump’s possible return to Facebook and Instagram. Mr Trump was banned from Facebook in January after the Capitol Hill riots. The Board said the delay was due to the time it has taken to review over 9,000 public responses to cases. A decision was originally due by 21 April. In a statement on Twitter, the Board said it would make a decision “in the coming weeks”. The ruling will be the biggest decision the Oversight Board has had to make since it started taking on cases last year. The Board was set up to rule on difficult or controversial moderation decisions made by Facebook. The 20-member committee, established by Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg, is often referred to as “Facebook’s Supreme Court”. It operates as an independent entity, although its wages and others costs are covered by the tech company. BBC 

The UK is the seventh most expensive country to charge an electric vehicle (EV) in Europe, according to new research from Irish price comparison website With an average cost of €0.22/kWh, the UK comes in at 32nd place, with Germany coming last at €0.30/kWh. For a full charge, the UK has an average cost of €13.77 compared to Germany’s €19.02. Ukraine came in first place, with a cost of €0.05/kWh and a full charge cost of €2.91. It was followed by Kosovo (€0.06/kWh), Serbia (€0.07/kWh) and North Macedonia (€0.08/kWh). Current News 

Scientists have captured global attention this week after growing part-human, part-monkey embryos in a new study that pushes the limits of such research to date. The team led by the US-based Salk Institute injected macaque embryos with human stem cells, which they say survived and even multiplied. The researchers then destroyed the embryos after 20 days. Experiments attempting to combine non-human mammals have taken place since the 1970s, but creating chimeras with human cells is a more recent phenomenon, typically using mice, sheep and pigs. It also remains controversial, and is strictly controlled in many countries, despite proponents’ hopes that such efforts may one day solve the global shortage of organs available for transplant, enhance our understanding of ageing and disease, or make medical research more humane. Independent

Chris Price
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