WITHIN HOURS OF its splashy Libra announcement last month, Facebook’s cryptocurrency plans had become a political cudgel. Drawing on Facebook’s privacy missteps and a gathering storm over antitrust, lawmakers swiftly demanded the company halt work on Libra while it addressed how it would avoid past mistakes. Those calls didn’t pose an immediate threat. Now, though, the project is getting attention from those who could potentially cool or delay Facebook’s ambitions: global regulators. Continue reading THE FED CHAIR SAYS FACEBOOK’S LIBRA RAISES ‘SERIOUS CONCERNS’
Marriott might soon face a stiff penalty for the massive November 2018 data breach. The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office plans to fine the hotel chain £99,200,396 (about $123.7 million) for allegedly violating the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation through the incident. Marriott didn’t conduct “sufficient due diligence” when it bought Starwood, according to the regulator, and “should also have done more” to improve security.
Just how much money do tech companies shelter from taxes? Quite a lot, according to the Dutch. Newly published Netherlands regulatory filings show that Google shielded €15.9 billion (about $19.2 billion) in 2016 using the popular “Dutch Sandwich” tax trick, saving it about $3.7 billion in taxes. The maneuver involves shifting revenue from an Irish subsidiary to a Dutch firm with no staff, and promptly moving the funds to a Bermuda mailbox owned by another Ireland-listed company. And this practice isn’t slowing down — Google moved 7 percent more cash through this approach in 2016 than it did a year earlier.
California’s tougher-than-usual climate change policy might become more stringent before long. Assemblywoman Autumn Burke tells the Associate Press that she’s introducing a bill requiring that car manufacturers sell at least 15 percent zero-emissions free vehicles within a decade. Companies operating in the state already have to hit yearly emissions targets and get credits for sales, but this would require that they embrace electric orhydrogen fuel cell cars in a big way — not just one or two novelty models. And if they don’t sell enough eco-friendly cars, they’d have to either pay a fine to the state or pay rivals that meet the targets. Yes, they might inadvertently help the competition.
For many criminals, prepaid “burner” phones are a dream tool: they’re cheap, commitment-free… and most importantly, don’t require ID that could reveal the buyer. House Representative Jackie Speier wants to put an end to that anonymity. She just introduced a bill, HR4886, that would require prepaid phone sellers to verify ID through common sources like credit cards, drivers’ licenses or Social Security numbers. In theory, this prevents drug dealers, terrorists and other crooks from evading law enforcement by using untraceable phones that they can toss at a moment’s notice.