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Tech News Today for December 15, 2016

Tech News for Thursday December 15, 2016

Yesterday we told you that Yahoo had reported another hack, separate from the incident in the news a few months ago. Bloomberg says cybercriminals may have broken into over 1 billion Yahoo accounts, including as many as 150,000 U.S. government and military employees. They gained access to names, passwords, telephone numbers, security questions, birth dates, and backup e-mail addresses. The White House says the FBI is investigating. And once again sources say the news could affect Yahoo's sale to Verizon. Read more at bloomberg.com.

Tom Wheeler, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission since November of 2013, has announced that he will step down in January. Prior to his tenure at the FCC, Wheeler was a VC and Lobbyist of the Cable and Wireless industry: He's even in the Wireless industry's Hall-of-Fame! -- This raised more than a few eyebrows when he was nominated by President Obama to take the top spot of the agency that had oversight of the Cable and Wireless industry, with pundits wondering if he was going to be a rubber-stamp for the agenda of the incumbents, especially when his first proposal was to create "fast lanes" for ISPs. However, he surprised everybody by listening to the public and changing the policy to become the Net Neutrality regulations we currently have. He also played an instrumental role in opening telephone poles to broadband competitiors, increasing the RF spectrum availible for cell carriers, and waging a war against unreasonable cable fees. Wheeler's replacement will be nominated by Donald Trump once the president-elect takes office in January. Read more at techcrunch.com.

Facebook began rolling out an update to Messenger that lets you add Snapchat-like filters to your photos in Messenger. The idea is that as public sharing dropped, Facebook wanted to encourgage users to continue to share directly in one-on-one messages. Alex Kantrowitz at Buzzfeed says Facebook is also testing its "M" assistant feature, having it make suggestions using artificial intelligence and everything it knows about you. For example, if someone messages you a question like, "Where are you," messenger will automatically send your location. Great for efficient stalking. Read more at recode.net.

After the Note 7 fiasco - which may have cost Samsung up to $17 billion in revenue and $30 billion in recall costs, stock loss and damage to the Samsung brand - the Korean electronics giant is looking for a hit to revive its smartphone line. According to insiders, Samsung is looking to throw every technological innovation possible into the Galaxy S8 in order to entice some of its lost users... but there might be a surprising roadblock to this effort: Google. Samsung recently acquired VIV, a virtual digital assistant, and is expected to integrate it into their S8, but Samsung has a non-compete pact with Google as part of their patent-sharing agreement, and rumors are circulating that Google has already asked Samsung not to include a feature that would direcly compete with the enhanced Google Now assistant. This is a story worth watching because it involves the largest single manufacturer of Android phones and their ambitions to be *the* premiere smarphone company, against Google, which is trying to keep Android from fragmenting even further. Read more at news.softpedia.com.

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