How Cutting-Edge Technology & Science Are Powering The Future TPM Idealab

Any time Angry Birds or Yelp is opened on a smartphone, information is being sent to marketers -- and app developers aren't required to reveal it. Apps running on the iPhone, Android and BlackBerry platforms often collect personal information to be resold to marketing companies and initiatives such as Google's AdMob. These apps and others work in conjunction with in-phone GPS chips to give marketers detailed information on smartphone users' locations, gender, ages and, in some cases, personal contacts and use of other apps.

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Last week, CNET's Declan McCullagh reported that the government was trying to create an "Internet ID for Americans," and that the Department of Commerce was orchestrating the plan. The article quickly spread around the Internet, leading to a common understanding that Obama was trying to replace systems like Facebook Connect or OpenID with a top-down, government-controlled competitor.

But if the Department of Commerce was supposed to create from whole cloth a national Internet ID for all Americans, somebody forgot to tell the Department of Commerce.

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Californians that own cars in cities like San Francisco, where parking is scarce and public transportation is not, have a new option to earn back some of the money they pay to keep their cars: renting those cars to strangers.

A recent change to California's law -- spurred by one entrepreneur's business idea -- will allow individuals to rent out their cars commercially but keep their insurance. And technologies pioneered by companies like ZipCar, proponents say, will help by overcoming people's concerns about giving their car keys to strangers.

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