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Tech News Today For February 17, 2017

Tech News for Friday February 17, 2017

Facebook has a new mission, revealed at length in a comprehensive 5,800-word letter published yesterday by CEO Mark Zuckerberg on the Facebook site. In it, Zuckerberg focuses on how Facebook can help facilitate a global community that is informed, supportive, engaged and inclusive. He writes about helping to build social infrastructure to allow that kind of community to grow and thrive. He writes about battling a trend of misinformation, and that risks of the polarization of opinions.

Sources close to Reuters say that SoftBank, Sprint’s parent company, might be interested in selling Sprint to T-Mobile’s parent company Deutsche Telekom. Back in 2013, in a bit of a role reversal, Sprint pursued a buyout of T-Mobile but was shot down due to opposition from US antitrust regulators. But now, Softbank is apparently disappointed with Sprint’s lack of growth in the US and would be willing to give up its control of Sprint for a minority stake in T-Mobile if a merger were approved. Negotiations would begin in April.  Read more at reuters .com.

German regulators are calling the My Friend Cayla doll an espionage device and as such, have banned its sale in the country. On the outside, My Friend Cayla looks like any ordinary children's doll, but one of its features is the ability to ping a server via Wi-Fi for answers to questions children ask it via an onboard microphone. The doll reads the results of a query back through a speaker. Nuance, the company that makes the voice recognition software used by the doll, said that the voice data is not shared in any way.  Read more at npr.org.

Kaspersky security researchers conducted studies of nine Android apps for connected cars and found that it's possible to commandeer the cars connected to those apps by either rooting the phone or installing malicious code. In doing so, they demonstrated how hackers could locate a vehicle, unlock the doors, and even start the ignition in a few examples.  Read more at wired.com.

You turn on your favorite YouTube video, and before you can watch a single frame, you sit through 30-second of unskippable pre-roll advertising. That is about to change, according to Google who will phase out the 30-second unskippable ads starting in 2018. However, 15 and 20-second unskippable ads aren’t going anywhere, and YouTube plans to ramp up the use of its 6-second unskippable ads format as well.  Read more at 9to5google.com.

Jason Howell is joined today by David Spark of Spark Media Solutions to talk about the RSA Security Conference. Tech News Today streams live weekdays at 4PM Pacific, 7PM Eastern at twit.tv/live. You can subscribe to the show and watch it on-demand at twit.tv/tnt.

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