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Comment Re: Dear Apple fans: (Score 1) 471

Ireland doesn't deny the sweetheart deal, they deny that it was illegal... while they were already phasing it out with a target date of 2020 because it was illegal.

Apple is also not paying tax on money made in the US through cross-licensing of IP, to the tune of $13B a year, from a shell entity in Dublin that doesn't pay tax in anywhere. There are at least two separate Apple corporations in Ireland, one has employees while the other just has a management board.

Comment Re:Gay porn (Score 1) 135

I don't know if it's true and still the case, but about 10 years ago a British colleague told me that gay porn videos couldn't legally be produced in the UK. The legal argument was that gay sex was only tolerated in the privacy of your own home, and that a camera counted as a third set of eyes in the room... therefore making it an illegal lewd act in public.

Comment Re:Doesn't Matter (Score 1) 609

But but but... tyranny and oppression from unelected bureaucrats in Brussels, curvy bananas and 300 rules on pillows. I've actually read on this very site that nobody in the UK has ever voted for the European Parliament.

A quick summary of the events to date: The UK PM went up to Brussels to "negotiate a better deal" by threatening to leave the UK because that had always worked before. Before going, he told the population that he would call for a vote on E membership if he didn't get another discount and a few more exemptions. The EU called his bluff this time around and he went back home without a special deal. Boris Johnson saw an opening to take the leadership of his party by running on the BREXIT side against his party leader. I don't think he ever expected the leave camp to win the vote, otherwise he wouldn't have "retired" the day after the vote. The full effects of that internal party politics gamble won't be known for another 2 years, but the price of non-local food has already started to creep up.

As for the leaving date, at this point the government may say that they'll trigger before the end of March 2017 but they may have to take some seriously nasty shortcuts to make it happen. The Supreme Court ruling on the appeal launched by the government won't be released before January 2017. The government is now considering sending a bill to trigger Article 50 before the Supreme Court ruling, which may trigger some interesting side effects.

I'm working in the financial service industry, and the biggest effect I foresee on BREXIT is going to be the foreign banks reducing their operations in the UK or even fully relocating them abroad. A lot of those banks are based in the UK because they can easily passport their financial licence to the rest of the EU. Once the UK is out, that's no longer an option. EFTA members can't passport financial licences, which is why UBS has such large operations in London. From discussions with my local financial regulator, they've been swamped with licence applications from the morning of June 24. So swamped that they have rented new office buildings and are recruiting new personnel to be able to process them in a reasonable time frame. While I do sort of understand that part of the BREXIT camp can see high-paying jobs leaving the country as a positive (possibly lowering the rents), I don't think they thought about the secondary effects (less money circulating in the local economy, secondary services jobs earning less or going away, ...).

Comment Re:Doesn't Matter (Score 1) 609

So have you prepared your derogatory remarks for the next country that leaves? Maybe you're right. Maybe it's just the crazy girlfriend thing.

What derogatory remarks? I'm just stating reality: the UK has been playing Europe's special snowflake card from day 1. Do you think they got all the nice exemptions they have by asking nicely? They have received them by threatening to leave at pretty much every summit. If you actually listen to the BREXIT crowd in the UK, the EU is going to give them all they want while they're not going to give the EU anything... how's that not pining for the good old days of the British Empire?

While you probably are going to be right, stalling requires someone to first stall. There hasn't been time to do that.

I don't know, I seem to recall that on June 23 someone decided to pack their shit and go. Yet we're now on November 7 and not only are still there, they don't even want to commit on a date. You know, that sort of stalling.

Too bad it doesn't seem to be triggering a similar discussion in the EU. Yet.

Well, the UK hasn't left yet, nor have they officially announced they were leaving... going back to the cat analogy.

Comment Re:Doesn't Matter (Score 1) 609

There's three possible paths: tweak the way the EU works every time a problem arises, scrap the current EU and go back to mini-states, or scrap the current EU and go full integration. Right now the EU is still trying to operate as a confederation, and those are rarely stable in the long term (Switzerland being again the exception).

Do you think it would fly in the US if a member state decided that the constitution doesn't apply to them? Or threatened to leave the Union if you didn't grant them an exception on the first amendment, or ultimately if you didn't let them rule the whole union? Because that's ultimately the issue the English have with the EU: they aren't the ones ruling it unlike the UK.

Personally, I'm glad that the UK finally took a decision. For decades they've literally been EU's cat, always on the wrong side of the door. They've been threatening to leave for ages, in order to get exceptions allowing them to take the full benefits without taking the full responsibilities or following the same rules as the rest of Europe. They can go wallow in their pipe dream of a British Empire restored, while the EU can continue on its own path without the added weight of the crazy ex-girlfriend that breaks up with you, publicly insults you but still wants to benefit from being in your house and raiding your fridge without paying her share of the rent.

The EU has been clear from the day after the BREXIT vote: even tho it pains us to lose a long time friend and ally, the UK has to respect the will of its population and the sooner the better. The EU isn't the one stalling here, the UK is. The issue is that the UK government knows it's going to be a shitstorm if they trigger Article 50. They're fucked if they do and they're fucked if they don't, the only option that makes sense for them is to stall as long as possible so it becomes "someone else's problem". Bonus points if they can stall it until after the next election, so they can have a clear idea of what the population really wants

I hope that BREXIT will end up being a net positive for the EU by forcing them to have a real serious discussion on where they want to go post-BREXIT. It's a shame it will have to make life so painful for a lot of my friends.

Comment Re: possibily illegal (Score 2) 548

Based on Russia's behavior in the last years, your assumption that they do not want a war is not apparent from their actions.

In 2014 alone, 38 airspace violations (Finland, Estonia, Denmark, ...) from Russian military planes... including close encounters with passenger planes and US planes or boats.

Comment Re:Isn't that the point? (Score 1) 37

You can leave facebook, but facebook still collects your data. Heck, they even collect it if you never joined in the first place.

BTW, socialist Europe has a unified law on privacy entering into force in 2018. That law stipulates that the user can ask for the exact data the company is storing, and the company must provide the whole data set free of charge. The law also reinforces that the user can request his data to be deleted, and once again this has to happen in a reasonable time frame and free of charge. It also establishes heavy fines for privacy violations, up to 4% of worldwide group revenue in case of data breach caused by negligence.

At the same time, the current AML legislation/regulation explicitly forbids you from disclosing some user-related information to the user... and to keep all the user data for 5 years after the end of the contractual relationship.

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