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

Executives from Silicon Valley's most valuable tech firms will once again face a grilling Thursday from a pack of senators who are intent on passing landmark privacy legislation as Valley companies cash in on the boom in mobile devices and social media.

Increasingly, the hottest tech companies focus on social media and exploit information about their users to make their services useful.

The senators, however, are concerned that the existing laws protecting consumers and their kids' privacy are unclear and outdated.

Both Apple and Google's lobbyists will testify in front of Senate Commerce's Subcommittee on Consumer Protection. A new face on the scene will be Bret Taylor, Facebook's chief technology officer, former CEO and Co-Founder of FriendFeed, and co-creator of Google Maps and related technology.

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To Google's Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, the future is mobile computing, and he predicts smartphones will be 100 times more powerful in 10 years than they are today.

On CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS Sunday, Schmidt said mobile phones will enrich our lives in the future even more than they do now.

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Facebook has asked the Federal Election Commission to confirm that advertisements on the social networking website shouldn't have to abide by campaign regulations which require a disclaimer on who paid for the ads.

In a 14-page letter sent to the FEC on April 26, three lawyers working on Facebook's behalf argue that small campaign ads on the social networking site should be exempt because displaying disclaimers would be impractical. TPM was alerted to Facebook's letter by a source.

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Senator Al Franken (D-MN) has stepped up his pressure on Apple CEO Steve Jobs, announcing on Monday that he will hold hearings on the recent revelation that Apple iPhones and iPads are secretly tracking and storing their users' locations.

"The same technology that has given us smartphones, tablets, and cell phones has also allowed these devices to gather extremely sensitive information about users, including detailed records of their daily movements and location," Franken, Chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law, said in a statement posted on his website.

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