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

It's a question privacy advocates and law enforcement have been grappling with for years: Does the protection of Little Sister justify Big Brother's prying eyes?

House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security met Tuesday morning to try to answer that question, with help from the Department of Justice, the United States Internet Service Provider Association and others. At issue is how long internet service providers should be required to keep massive amounts of user data for law enforcement to potentially sort through later.

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Above our heads, 21,000 pieces of man-made junk uncomfortably share the orbit around our planet with satellites, space craft and space platforms. These chunks of orbital debris threaten to collide with all that equipment, potentially bringing down communications, scientific, and military satellites. But if the Air Force has its way, its Space Fence system will track the thousands of pieces of debris and give data to scientists to help them avoid collisions.

This past November, the Air Force's Electronic Systems Center put out a call for proposals for developing a Space Fence that will use up to three powerful S-band radars to keep track of debris in the southern hemisphere as small as one inch in diameter. These new sensors will compliment the current United States Space Surveillance Network, whose sensors can follow objects down to ten centimeters in diameter.

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Apple's iPad tablet computer may be the perfect vehicle to view glossy magazines, but the iTunes subscription model has some publishers ready to turn the page.

On both sides of the Atlantic, publishers are grumbling about Apple's iTunes store. Some popular US publications, including the New York Times and Playboy, recently announced web-based subscriptions that will offer more flexible options and control over content than iTunes. But in Europe, Apple faces a probe by Belgian antitrust authorities over whether it is abusing its market position by requiring that publishers only sell subscriptions through iTunes.

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With news of Google co-founder Larry Page set to become the company's new CEO this April, should Americans be bracing themselves for an abrupt about-face on net neutrality at Google as the more ideological and product-focused Page takes the reins?

Don't hold your breath, according to industry experts. It's unlikely that Page will make any huge policy changes.

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When you board a passenger plane in twenty years, what will it look like? Will it be a single, wide wing much like the current B-2 stealth bomber? Or could it look like a pontoon boat with wings? NASA last week gave the public a glimpse of the possibilities the future holds when it unveiled three radically different concept designs for the passenger plane of 2025 and beyond.

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Have governments got cyberwarfare all wrong? A new study argues that the United States and United Kingdom have never figured out a proper definition of cyberwar and that a "true cyber war" will never happen.

But it's not all good news: In order to prevent a combination of cyberwarfare, conventional war and other disasters from causing future, the scholars behind the project argue that an internet equivalent of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is needed to protect against worms, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks and hackers.

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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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