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A roundup of the latest high-tech news “Hot off the Wire” from The Associated Press and Local Tech Wire:

• PayPal wants to make micropayments easier

SAN FRANCISCO — PayPal wants to make it easier to buy low-cost digital goods online, whether it’s a single article on a news website or virtual items in a video game.

Scott Thompson, the online payment service’s president, says that PayPal plans to roll out a payment product by the end of the year that helps businesses collect "micropayments" on the Web.

Generally, if you want to buy, say, a virtual sword in an online game, you need to first purchase a chunk of credit — perhaps $5 or $10 — that you can then spend on a 49-cent virtual sword on a game on Facebook or other websites. That’s because the costs associated with credit card transactions quickly eat away at the profit a merchant would make on something that costs a few dollars or less.

Thompson thinks consumers want to be able to buy items one at a time, though. And with this in mind, he said PayPal intends to allow purchases in small increments.

PayPal, which is owned by eBay Inc., plans to make that work by compiling consumers’ transactions. Someone might buy $10 worth of news articles, or goods in an online game, before getting billed by PayPal. PayPal thinks this will appeal more to consumers while benefiting merchants and PayPal, too.

Online micropayments are not new. They emerged in the 1990s but never really caught on, in part because early attempts often had people spend tiny amounts of money — a dime here, a quarter there — instead of the currently popular model where you buy a bunch of credits up front and use them a little at a time.

• ‘FarmVille’ maker hires ex-MySpace CEO Van Natta

LOS ANGELES — Zynga, the maker of popular social networking game "FarmVille," has hired former MySpace CEO Owen Van Natta as its executive vice president of business operations.

Van Natta, also a former chief revenue officer for Facebook, starts Monday. He’ll also have a seat on the board of directors of the fast-growing startup. The board now has five members.

Van Natta left MySpace in February after 10 months on the job after conflicting with parent News Corp.’s chief digital officer Jonathan Miller.

He joins a privately held company that is seeing explosive growth.

According to tracking firm Developer Analytics, Zynga has 367 million users a month on 48 of its applications.
Zynga is also responsible for the top three applications on Facebook, "FarmVille," ”FrontierVille," and "Zynga Poker."

• India eyes Google and Skype in security crackdown

MUMBAI, India — India may ask Google and Skype for greater access to encrypted information once it resolves security concerns with BlackBerrys, which are now under threat of a ban, according to a government document and two people familiar with the discussions.

The 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, which were coordinated with satellite and cell phones, helped prompt a sweeping security review of telecommunications ahead of the Commonwealth Games — a major sporting event to be held in New Delhi in October.

Some analysts say more anonymous technologies — like the basic Nokia phones used by 10 gunmen who rampaged through Mumbai in November 2008, leaving 166 dead — and Gmail are more likely to be used to plan terror attacks than BlackBerry devices, which require reliable identity proof and contact information.

On July 12, officials from India’s Department of Telecommunications met with representatives of three telecom service provider groups to discuss interception and monitoring of encrypted communications by security agencies.

"There was consensus that there are more than one type of service for which solutions are to be explored," according to a copy of the minutes of the meeting obtained by The Associated Press. "Some of them are BlackBerry, Skype, Google etc. It was decided first to undertake the issue of BlackBerry and then the other services."

"They have clearly instructed us that after BlackBerry, they are going to take to task Google, Skype and similar services that bypass the monitoring department of India," said Rajesh Chharia, president of the Internet Service Providers Association of India, who attended the meeting. "According to the law, they have to allow monitoring."