Tag Archive | "Google"

Enabling tax avoidance


According to the ‘Gazette’, solicitors, with the exception of those in-house, are among the main losers from last week’s spring budget. A combination of higher national insurance contributions and increased taxes on dividends will hit self-employed practitioners, partners and director shareholders.

In addition, accountants, lawyers, tax planners and advisers who provide advice on how to avoid tax will face tough penalties under new proposals being consulted on by the government. Under the plans set out in an HMRC consultation document enablers of tax avoidance could have to pay a fine of up to 100 per cent of the tax the scheme’s user underpaid. The fines are designed to be levied against accountants and lawyers who create tax avoidance schemes of the kind used by celebrities. Read the full story

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Regulating cybersecurity


Recently the FBI called Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California. The agency wanted Apple to help them hack an iPhone. Apple refused.

The request stepped up a level when a federal magistrate ordered Apple to help the FBI unlock a single iPhone. The phone belonged to Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the killers in the December mass shooting in San Bernardino, California. Investigators have maintained that terrorists are hiding behind the safety of encryption to plan attacks, putting lives at risk.

Apple again refused. Read the full story

Posted in Case Law, Civil LibertiesComments (0)

Counter-extremism bill – part 1


Britain leads the world in the use of CCTV. As a result, surveillance has become an inescapable part of life. Britain has a larger DNA base and more police powers and email snooping than any comparable liberal democracy.

This was the very solid base for coalition home secretary Teresa May’s snooper’s charter bill three years ago which would have allowed GCHQ to conduct real-time surveillance of a person’s communications and their web usage. The intelligence services and police would have had powers to insist that internet and phone companies hand over our data without our knowledge. She stressed the need to move quickly.

Then plans were put on hold after being condemned by MPs of all parties. Nick Clegg, then Deputy Prime Minister, announced that the contentious measures would only be published in draft form and would be subject to widespread consultation, concessions that could delay the proposals for at least a year.

Now these proposals are very much back on the agenda. David Cameron and the home secretary, Theresa May, have defined extremism as “vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values”. It covers a range of activity not caught by the current law as terrorism, incitement to violence, stirring up hatred or abuse.

The counter-extremism bill, which is due to be published later this year, is aimed at “suppressing extremist activity.” It is far more wide-ranging than expected. The legislation will include not only the expected snooper’s charter, it will include proposals for banning orders to outlaw extremist organisations, extremist disruption orders to restrict the activities of individuals, and closure orders to shut down premises used by extremists.
It also moves to strengthen the security services’ warranted powers for the bulk interception of the content of communications. The extension of the bill to “modernise the law” on tracking communications data, was agreed within government only this month.

Last week, in the first live media interview ever given by a senior British intelligence official, the head of MI5, Andrew Parker, called for more up to date surveillance powers and said tech companies had an ethical responsibility to provide more help in monitoring the communications of suspected terrorists and paedophiles.
The investigatory powers legislation is expected to include powers to require internet and phone companies to collect and store for 12 months the browsing histories of customers along with detailed records of voice calls, messaging and text services.

It would require the companies, including those based abroad such as Google and Facebook, to give the police and security services access to this bulk data.

In a statement released by MI5 after his radio interview, Parker welcomed the prospect of new legislation governing surveillance, acknowledging that the existing law, introduced in 2000, was out of date.

He said: “Today we are being stretched by a growing threat from terrorism, and from Syria in particular, combined with the constant challenge of technological change.” He said the terrorist threat to the UK was rated severe, meaning an attack is likely, and that six alleged terrorist plots had been disrupted over the last year, the highest number he had seen in his 32 years at MI5.

“The way we work these days has changed as technology has advanced. Our success depends on us and our partner agencies having sufficient up-to-date capabilities, used within a clear framework of law against those who threaten this country,” he said.

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