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Comment: This is not the most important part of the change (Score 5, Informative) 164

While the OP in principle is correct, the increased tax revenue is not the most important consequence of the change. The drastic part is the legal burden added on companies offering e-services. Any company (regardless of whether they are located in the EU or the US, regardless of their size, and regardless of their annual turnabout) that want to makes sales in the EU will now have to read and understand 28 different national tax laws regarding VAT. Not only do all these countries have different VAT rates, but they also have different exceptions depending on what it is that is sold. In one country the VAT rate might be 20%, unless the sale can be categorized for example as advertisement, in which case the VAT rate is 10%. In another country the item that is sold might be categorized in a different manner.

The burden of figuring out what tax to charge lands entirely on the salesman, even if he's just a hobbyist selling a single item. Needless to say, learning and keeping track of 28 different legislations is impossible unless you are a large corporation. But despite this, a german shop owner charging the wrong VAT rate for a bulgarian customer might end up being sued in a bulgarian court of law. And in the long run get extradited to bulgaria. Since this law change in practice is going to wipe out small business owners, there have been quite vocal protests raised. For example a twitter storm ended up making the #EUVAT hashtag trending at number 3 worldwide. (see http://euvataction.org/2014/12...) More information about what the salient consequences of the law change are can be found at http://euvataction.org/key-fac....

Comment: HTTPS is not safe either (Score 3, Insightful) 622

by j1976 (#43986821) Attached to: Keeping Your Data Private From the NSA (And Everyone Else)

So, in an effort to hide from NSA you go all out HTTPS. However, to avoid getting those pesky "this site is dangerous!!!" messages browsers show you on self-signed certificates, you buy your keys from any of the larger certificate authorities. Safe? Sorry, no. Almost all those CAs work under American jurisdiction, or on delegation from American CAs. Assuming NSA doesn't get the keys in other ways, all they have to do to get them is to ask the CA and the company would have to hand them over.

With those private keys available they can listen in on the HTTPS conversations in real time, and there is no way for the participants of the conversation to know this.

Amusingly enough, the safest bid (well, to hide from NSA at least) would be to use self-signed keys despite all the browser warnings.

If you still want to get valid keys, here is an interesting discussion on which CA to choose.

Comment: Revelation space (Score 3, Interesting) 209

by j1976 (#43195869) Attached to: Seniors Search For Virtual Immortality

This theme has been investigated extensively in the revelation space books by Alastair Reynolds, if anyone is curious about reading fiction about how it could look. Here, a full dump of a person is called an alpha-level simulation and is essential a living digital copy of a person, capable of continuing to "live", learn and having conversations with their descendants.

Comment: What apache should do with it (Score 1) 131

by j1976 (#36773050) Attached to: IBM Donates Symphony Code To Apache Software Foundation

If there is any value left in either the oracle code base or the IBM code base, the only sane thing for apache to do would be to commit it to the LibreOffice code tree. That's where the development is happening at the moment, and I don't see why Apache would be interested in maintaining a lesser competing product when there already is a blooming open source one around.

Comment: Read up on Azure (Score 1) 442

by j1976 (#36209622) Attached to: Should a Web Startup Go Straight To the Cloud?

The answer is not all that simple and straight-forward. First you have to decide what level of "cloud" it is you want? Is it platform-as-a-service (PAAS) or infrastructure-as-a-service (IAAS)? Your situation will be very different depending on what you choose. Assuming you are interested in going all out cloud and insist on going for microsoft products, you should read up on Azure and then decide if the gains are worth it. You should especially read up on the pricing model and see if it fits with your model for generating income.

Comment: Not surprising (Score 5, Interesting) 184

by j1976 (#36000630) Attached to: Sony Online Entertainment Services Follow PSN Down

I have gotten my SOE account "hacked" (using SOE's terms). So has a close friend, and several other people I know of. Ok, if it had only been me I would have assumed it was an isolated incident even though I can't even begin to guess how my password got out in the wild. When this many people got their accounts taken over in such a limited time, I do no longer believe this was a problem on my side. However, trying to get anything other than "update your antivirus" out of the SOE customer support is an exercise in futility.

My qualified guess is that the recent security breaches aren't in any way exceptions: Most likely Sony/SOE have had security problems for several months now and have tried to keep a lid on it. But as said, that's just my guess.

Comment: Good idea (Score 2) 695

by j1976 (#35650364) Attached to: Europe Plans To Ban Petrol Cars From Cities By 2050

The EU area controls about 16% of the total world economy. That may sound small, but when an area like that takes a considered and coordinated stance like the one in the OP, and (knowing EU) is prepared to put significant legislative effort behind the decision, it would have a significant impact. 16% of the world market is too much to ignore, even discounting the manufacturers actually living in the EU area (for you foreign barbarians, about 500 million people lives here).

A decision like this would cause great market incitement for thinking up and selling new "green" products.

The number of UNIX installations has grown to 10, with more expected. -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June 1972