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Comment Re:EU assails Apple with tax claim (Score 1) 564

I have no doubt that the EU will be hypocrits with regards to applying their own policies and their judgement of others. Hopefully the WTO will sort this out. But still, IMO that is irrelevant for the Apple case. Just like in the US you can't complain that the government has no business prosecuting X because unrelated person or company Y in a different case got away with it too, or that it's ok if you bribe a US government official because the US government bribed government officials of other countries. As for the proof something was available to some companies but not others, I think the European Commission will not find it too difficult to prove it. They can just subpoena all the tax rulings the Irish tax office has made in the past decade or so. They have made similar demands of many member states in the past. Example:

Comment Re:EU assails Apple with tax claim (Score 1) 564

Perhaps I worded it not carefully enough. Ireland is free to set its tax rate as low as it wants. The complaint is not that the tax rate is too low, but that it did not correctly apply it to Apple, letting Apple pay much less taxes. Its almost the equivalent of setting a VAT rate for Apple Iphones of 5%, and setting it for Samsung at 25%. That is unfair. If Ireland wanted so little corporate income tax from Apple, it had a very simple solution. Lower the statutory rate. If Ireland wants to set a statutory rate of 0.005%, the European Commission can do nothing. But if Ireland sets a rate of 12.5%, it should impose that rate on all companies, not just the small ones and letting Apple or other big companies off with a sweetheart deal. It's very simple: If you want low taxes, lower the statutory rate. If you want high taxes, increase the statutory rate. Stop with all the bullshit special rules and special fiscal regimes for companies that try to find loopholes. Because this is what you get. And I applaud the European Commission for doing this, because even if they fail in this case, in the long run, the legal uncertainty they create helps combat this stupid practice by national governments and the companies that exploit them.

Comment Re:EU assails Apple with tax claim (Score 1) 564

Apple may have followed the law, Ireland has not. Apple is not getting fined by the EU, Ireland is told it collected too few taxes, and they have to collect them after all. Its a matter of tax fairness. Countires cannot offer sweetheart deals to individual companies. The EU slapped the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg earlier, and now its Irelands turn. This cannot have come as a huge surprise to Apple, considering the precedents.

Comment Re:Click bait headline! (Score 1) 564

There is in principal no difference between this ruling and earlier rulings againt Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg. Its just bigger. And no, they were not dismissed. In my opinion Ireland and Apple brought this on themselves. If Ireland wants Apple to pay only 0,05% in taxes, fine. All Ireland has to do is lower the statutory rate to that level. But you can't set a 12.5% rate and then give sweetheart deals to big multinationals. That is simply illegal in the EU. Setting a general rate of 0.05% is legal.

Comment sentence (Score 1) 637

I am not a very security minded person. All I do is make it a sentence. A long sentence (as long as the system allows). With a number in it, so that if the system wants another bloody password, I just increase the number by 1. For example: Little red robin likes to eat 27 pears now. Works well enough for me, though maybe I just don't realize when my accounts get compromised.

Comment Easily circumvented (Score 5, Funny) 344

What would prevent Amazon or Netflix from just approaching some YouTubers in these countries, offering them 100 euro for the worst and most crappy movies ever produced in French, German and all the other European languages, and putting these on their platform as the 'required local content quota fillers'. Hey, if 20% has to be European, nobody ever said it had to be the best European movies and shows... I would be more than willing to produce Dutch content for Netflix, consisting of hourlong diatribes against ridiculous European regulations designed to protect crappy content from competition. Hell, I'd probably do it for free. My German is just good enough to even produce a rant in German, which could potentially be submitted under comedy, considering my mediocre german vocabulary and pronunciation skills.

Comment technical possibilities? (Score 1) 796

If this continues, what I expect to see soon is encryption that decrypts in 2 different unencrypted versions, dependent on the decryption key used. I can't imagine its that difficult. Make an encryption program that has the option of just normal encryption with 1 decryption key, but the added option of using a second decryption key, and a second set of files. For example: John Doe has 2 harddisks, each with 40 GB of information. One contains the blueprints of the F22 Raptor, the other the complete works from the Gutenberg Project, in 7 different languages. John Doe uses the encryption program to create a single encrypted file, size 80+ GB on a bigger harddisk. If John enters the password Gutenberg, the program decrypts the file into the Gutenberg library. If John enters the password Raptor, he gets the blueprints for the F22. Now law enforcement, if they find the file, not only have to force him to decrypt it, they have to prove there is a SECOND decryption key. If the program uses standard padding of the encrypted file with 100-200% of the original data, they could not even prove that there is a second decryption key just by looking at the size difference between the encrypted file and the Gutenberg library file.

Submission + - Some people are fine with using a phone in church, but not walking on the street (

Mark Wilson writes: The thing with a mobile phone is, thanks to the fact this it is mobile, it can be used — just about — anywhere. But just because something is possible, it doesn’t mean that it should be done. PewResearch conducted a survey into phone etiquette, and the findings show that people are somewhat divided about where and when it is OK to use a phone.

Some of the results are not exactly surprising. A huge majority of those questioned were not cool with the idea of using a phone in a movie theater or during a meeting (95 and 94 percent respectively). But there are also some interesting quirks in attitudes to mobiles — 4 percent of people, for instance, see no problem with using a cellphone in the middle of a church service.

Submission + - Oakland Changes License Plate Reader Policy After Filling 80GB Hard Drive (

An anonymous reader writes: License plate scanners are a contentious subject, generating lots of debate over what information the government should have, how long they should have it, and what they should do with it. However, it seems policy changes are driven more by practical matters than privacy concerns. Earlier this year, Ars Technica reported that the Oakland Police Department retained millions of records going back to 2010. Now, the department has implemented a six-month retention window, with older data being thrown out. Why the change? They filled up the 80GB hard drive on the Windows XP desktop that hosted the data, and it kept crashing. Why not just buy a cheap drive with an order of magnitude more storage space? Sgt. Dave Burke said, "We don't just buy stuff from Amazon as you suggested. You have to go to a source, i.e., HP or any reputable source where the city has a contract. And there's a purchase order that has to be submitted, and there has to be money in the budget. Whatever we put on the system, has to be certified. You don't just put anything. I think in the beginning of the program, a desktop was appropriate, but now you start increasing the volume of the camera and vehicles, you have to change, otherwise you're going to drown in the amount of data that's being stored."

Submission + - Tired of Poop, More Cities Use DNA to Catch Dog Owners

dkatana writes: For many cities one of the biggest cleaning expenses is dealing with dog poop. While it is impossible to ask the birds to refrain from splattering the city, dogs have owners and those owners are responsible for disposing of their companion’s waste.

The few who shirk their duty create serious problems for the rest. Poop is not just a smelly inconvenience. It’s unsanitary, extra work for cleaning crews, and in the words of one Spanish mayor, on a par with vandalism.

Cities have tried everything from awareness campaigns with motorized poo videos, to publishing offenders names to mailing the waste back to the dog owner. In one case, after a 147 deliveries, dog waste incidents in the town dropped 70 percent.

Those campaigns have had limited effect and after an initial decline in incidents, people go back to their old ways. Which has left many cities resorting to science and DNA identification of waste. Several European cities, including Naples and one borough in London, are building DNA registries of pets. Offending waste will then be tested and the cost of the analysis charged to the dog owner, along with a fine.

Submission + - U.S. Scientists Successfully 'Switch Off' Cancer Cells (

iONiUM writes: From the article: "For the first time, aggressive breast, lung and bladder cancer cells have been turned back into harmless benign cells by restoring the function which prevents them from multiplying excessively and forming dangerous growths." Specifically, this is done by triggering production of the protein PLEKHA7 which in turn levels off the microRNA levels in the cells. So far this has only been done in human cells in a lab.

Submission + - When Should Cops Be Allowed to Take Control of Self-Driving Cars? writes: A police officer is directing traffic in the intersection when he sees a self-driving car barreling toward him and the occupant looking down at his smartphone. The officer gestures for the car to stop, and the self-driving vehicle rolls to a halt behind the crosswalk. This seems like a pretty plausible interaction. Human drivers are required to pull over when a police officer gestures for them to do so. It’s reasonable to expect that self-driving cars would do the same. But Will Oremus writes that while it's clear that police officers should have some power over the movements of self-driving cars, what’s less clear is where to draw the line. Should an officer be able to do the same if he suspects the passenger of a crime? And what if the passenger doesn’t want the car to stop—can she override the command, or does the police officer have ultimate control?

According to a RAND Corp. report on the future of technology and law enforcement “the dark side to all of the emerging access and interconnectivity is the risk to the public’s civil rights, privacy rights, and security.” It added, “One can readily imagine abuses that might occur if, for example, capabilities to control automated vehicles and the disclosure of detailed personal information about their occupants were not tightly controlled and secured.”

Comment Re:Or they're just proxying their connections (Score 1) 224

Except that by extending the duration of copyright to absurd lengths, it starts to invalidate the whole concept of copyright. If copyright was just 5 years, rights owners would have a much stronger moral case about doing something about infringement. I don't infringe copyrights anymore (did it when I was in university, but now I have too little time to watch TV anyway and more than enough money to pay for the few things I do still watch), but on a fundamental level I have zero respect for copyright, simply because how far it has strayed from its original, quite noble origins under the influence of money-grabbing companies and the politicians they have bought to do their bidding. Now if copyright were 5 years long, I'd say that would be a reasonable amount of time that a creator can claim protection for its creation. 10 years? Bit long but acceptable. You could even cut copyright in two: commercial copyright and non-commercial copyright. Make non-commercial copyright last 10 years, make commercial copyright last 50 years. With the difference being that after 10 years people are allowed to copy your stuff, but not try to make money with it until commercial copyright ends. But the current system? I'd rather see zero copyright than the idiocy we have today.

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