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* Posts by ratfox

3365 posts • joined 3 Sep 2007

Google Spain raided by Agencia Tributaria in latest European crackdown

ratfox
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I suspect that UK in particular hoped that their low (for EU) corporation tax rate would have lots of companies selling stuff in France and Germany and paying taxes in UK. They thought they were gaming the system.

They never saw Ireland coming.

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ratfox
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It's normal that there would be no fine if Google can convincingly claim that the way they paid taxes looked fair. When the additional tax paid is, as you said, so small, it's not unreasonable (and presumably the amount also looked fair to the tax service before politicians insisted they take another look).

What is unreasonable is the law that makes it possible for Google to book all their sales in Ireland, when they have such a massive presence in UK.

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Lauri Love at risk of suicide if extradited to US, Brit court hears

ratfox
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I still don't understand why the British legal system cannot sentence hackers themselves. Surely the crime itself happened in UK. As a simple matter of jurisdiction, the prosecution should happen in UK.

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US, EU agree Privacy Shield

ratfox
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Unhappy

The funny part is that it's pretty clear that nothing has changed at all, but millions have been spent.

Privacy on the Internet is now a rearguard fight.

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Sliced your submarine cable? Fill in this paperwork

ratfox
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Re: Do the Maths!

$9,000 per licensee. From which I deduct that licensees have on average about three cables and a half each.

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PM resigns as Britain votes to leave EU

ratfox
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Unhappy

I am a bit saddened to see that the young voted in majority to stay, while older and especially retired people voted to leave. It's understandable, as the old people are more likely to remember the "good old times" before the EU. Also, maybe, they are less likely to be impacted by the turmoil, not needing to look for a job anymore. For the young who will have to live in the future, it's a bit of a slap in the face.

That said, I'm not sure that things will change as much as anybody predicts, considering the UK was already outside of many EU agreements like the Euro and Schengen, and it's probably going to keep close ties to the EU in any case. When most of your trade partners have the same standards, it's generally a good idea to follow the standards.

One thing that is likely to change is that Facebook et al. will find it a lot more difficult not to pay taxes on the revenue they make in UK. That's good, but I'm not sure it's worth the trouble. Also, who knows what will change for the worse?

I am personally disappointed that Nigel Farage is currently happy. Man's an asshole.

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Holy Crap! Bloke finishes hand-built CPU project!

ratfox
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Headmaster

"an area of about 10m"

(body)

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Musk's Tesla to buy Musk's SolarCity for US$2.8 billion

ratfox
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Duchessing

Thanks for this addition to my vocabulary.

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Apple pollutes data about you to protect your privacy. But it might not be enough

ratfox
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Unhappy

I'm mostly pessimistic

I believe privacy and anonymity are dying. It is going to be harder and harder to keep them, until the effort will be so disproportionate that the vast majority of people will just give up. Sometimes it feels most of them already did.

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You lucky creatures! Mammals only JUUUST survived asteroid that killed dinosaurs

ratfox
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Watch as SpaceX's latest Falcon rocket burns then crashes

ratfox
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Have they reused an engine yet? That's when the big savings will come.

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Austrians are most likely to bare all on beaches

ratfox
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I feel attitudes have turned more prude since my youth. I recall a girl saying around 1990 that all her friends suntanned topless at the swimming pool, and she was feeling peer pressure. In most places, it's rare to see any topless woman nowadays.

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This is how the EU's supreme court is stripping EU citizens of copyright protections

ratfox
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Black Helicopters

"Pirated stuff can be found easily on the internet"

...I bet the MPAA is coming for me...

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ratfox
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Re: I don't fully understand...

If the images are actually secure, they are in the locked box and only the family members are able to get at them. Of course, it wouldn't stop those family members copying the images and putting them somewhere public but, without that, no one without the key can get at them even if they know where they are.

Sometimes, the URL itself is the key. For instance, one of the security settings of Google Docs is "anybody with the link can access", which essentially means "everybody can access it, but good luck guessing the 64-digit hash in the URL if somebody doesn't give it to you". When you think of it, having an additional 10-character password to protect the document really seems superfluous.

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US plans intervention in EU vs Facebook case caused by NSA snooping

ratfox
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Stop

Re: The jist of this U.S. government intervention will be...

All is takes is the IRS auditing the companies properly for all sorts of problems to appear

Yeah right. The companies have better accountants than the IRS and are quite safe from audits. The US isn't some dictatorship where the government can shake down companies for more tax money whenever they feel like it.

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ratfox
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Re: The jist of this U.S. government intervention will be...

To the best of my knowledge, the US government doesn't really have a say on how much is invested by US companies in Ireland. It could of course create laws against doing so, but that would probably break every treaty in the book.

It's nice that governments are finally getting involved. It's a bit silly that companies (which are not all the size of Facebook) have to bear the brunt of what is essentially a political dispute.

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Your new Android Smartwatch? Dead!

ratfox
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Headmaster

Gone down the route.

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Google bows to Dutch

ratfox
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What is "personal data"?

Everybody speaks of personal data, but I haven't found a single, useful, definition. I suspect Google and the regulators might not be using the same.

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Google doesn’t care who makes Android phones. Or who it pisses off

ratfox
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Sounds risky

Google is already in the crosshairs of the EU antitrust commissioner for Android — and that's with Android being open source. If they make Android proprietary, they might just as well spare the lawyers and just send a cheque for $Billions fine to the EU.

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Google snubs 'dark money' questions at AGM. Shareholder power? Yeah, right

ratfox
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You were warned

To be fair, the Google founders have said openly from the beginning that they would always keep control of the company. I remember around the time of the IPO a finance guy unhappy about this and saying that Google stock would get punished by the market. They seem to have been doing fine.

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Bin Apple's $500m patent judgment, US DoJ tells Supreme Court

ratfox
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WTF?

Wow

I actually agree with the opinion; it's just surprising that the US government would side with a foreign company against an American one. You have to wonder what's their motivation.

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Get ready for Google's proprietary Android. It's coming – analyst

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Brexit: UK gov would probably lay out tax plans in post-'leave' vote emergency budget

ratfox
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Re: equivalent terms

I believe the UK is in a relatively good position in Europe, having low corporate tax rates to attract companies to London. I would guess they even congratulated themselves on that fact when the rules were drawn (though they probably didn't see coming the Facebooks and Apples choosing Ireland with an even lower tax rate).

All in all, my guess is that it would be a net loss to leave the EU, because London would lose a lot of business from companies currently selling in Europe, which wouldn't be recovered from companies in Europe selling to the UK.

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Facebook: 'We don't listen'

ratfox
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Typical

Not that Facebook is the only one to do this but:

We only access your microphone if you have given our app permission

Which most users accept without blinking (and not long ago couldn't even refuse if they wanted to use the app at all).

and if you are actively using a specific feature that requires audio. This might include recording a video or using an optional feature we introduced two years ago to include music or other audio in your status updates.

Note how these explanations, here and in T&C's, always say "This might include…"; they never contain an exhaustive list. Because that would mean they cannot add anything in the future without making an announcement about changing their T&C's, which they want to avoid because it just attracts attention to the matter, and gets them in trouble with regulators.

So they leave all options open. They say what they might do, they give examples, but they never say "we will not do this", because that's painting themselves in a corner.

For the record, I don't even think that Facebook is really listening. I'm just pointing out that their statement is completely vacuous, out of abundance of care.

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Smartwatches: I hate to say ‘I told you so’. But I told you so.

ratfox
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I agree with the current assessment, but it's a much bolder statement to say it will always remain so. There was 14 years between the Apple Newton and the iPhone. The former was a dud, and the latter started the biggest IT revolution since the 80s.

So all in all, I understand that these companies are still working very hard on it.

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Swiss effectively disappear Alps: World's largest tunnel opens

ratfox
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We have already voted to build the next tunnel, this time for cars. It's sadly going to be way more expensive than other solutions reusing existing tunnels, but hey, the digging industry needs to make a living innit?

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Leak: Euro Patent Office 'court of appeals' rails against King Battistelli

ratfox
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Paris Hilton

So who has the power to fire this guy?

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Google is the EU Remain campaign's secret weapon

ratfox
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Re: Or less conspiracy based

"This post has been deleted by a moderator".

Ironic, really.

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EU wants open science publication by 2020

ratfox
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In some fields, it's almost de facto the case already. Everybody and their uncle put their article on arXiv.org before even sending it for review to a publication, and more often than not, the journal allows them to leave it there. In the first place, just the review process can take a year, and then another until the paper is actually published. Researchers generally want to make sure to put their name on the result as soon as possible before anybody else can.

Having open publications is really very important though. If the institution where you worked lacked the funds to subscribe to the top publications, it could be a real pain just to figure out what the most recent results in the field were. Even as the author, you could miss on the precious references to your paper if it wasn't accessible. I remember reading about a paper that might have been relevant to mine, but when I learnt I needed to pay 50 bucks for a copy, I simply didn't bother.

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Are EU having a laugh? Europe passes hopeless cyber-commerce rules

ratfox
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Meh

Worst, however, is the fact that the Commission has exempted digital goods from its digital single market, so companies will be able to continue to geo-block videos and other digital files.

Well duh. You thought that was going to change?

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The Schmidt's hit by the fan: Alphabet investor sues Google bigwigs over EU antitrust ruckus

ratfox
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Re: That's silly

I think the downvoters find that you are mixing stuff that are unrelated. This suit is specifically about antitrust. Google is not going to use the "everybody else does it" defense, because they're the only ones in position to do it — that's the whole point.

You're also somehow accusing Google of money laundering, and I have no clue where you got that from.

I also want to call out the claim that Google is taking £150 a year out of the pockets of "every wage earner" in the UK, first because that's how much Google made in the country over ten years, but also because it's ridiculous to assume that without Google, this money would somehow have made its way into the pockets of people instead of another advertising company.

As to the shareholder lawsuit, Google came very close to striking a deal with the EU, brokered by Eric Schmidt with the previous commissioner, which was scuppered at the last minute by political pressure. I think it was reasonable for Google to think that they would get away with what they are doing, since they almost did. From that point, I don't think that the shareholder lawsuit is justified, since Google really did take the decisions that seemed best at the time. It's blaming them because their foresight was not as good as your hindsight.

Then again, lawsuits don't have to make sense in the US.

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French authorities raid Google's Paris HQ over tax allegations

ratfox
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Re: Huh??

I suppose the point is to prevent the employees from shredding or burning incriminating evidence. Or more likely in this case, deleting files.

Google probably keeps all its documents in the cloud, but who knows? Maybe The French police will come up with a smoking gun.

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ratfox
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Re: Google doesn't have sales in France

Presumably the French authorities disagree (hence the raid at dawn).

That doesn't make sense. Google is doing this selling from Ireland publicly and openly. If the French thought that this was illegal, they could just fine them, and use Google's own declarations as proof.

A raid at dawn is only useful if you think they are hiding something. The only logical assumption is that the French think that Google is lying, and is actually secretly selling stuff from their French office. They're hoping to find proof of contract negotiations, or something like that.

Or possibly, it's just an intimidation tactic.

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Got a Fitbit? Thought you were achieving your goals? Better read this

ratfox
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I assume that Fitbit is intelligent enough to have included disclaimers in their T&Cs...

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Chrome OS to get Android apps via the magic of containers

ratfox
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WTF?

the platform is now outselling Macs in the US

Let's see those numbers. I am aware that not everybody can afford a Mac, but I would still have bet that Macs are more mainstream than Chromebooks.

Or maybe it's all those schools that are ordering a Chromebook for every child, because it's cheaper and the kids don't realistically need more until high school.

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Mads Torgersen and Dustin Campbell on the future of C#

ratfox
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Windows

Programming Peter Principle

Every programming language that is working well gets burdened with new features and frameworks until it sucks.

Another version is that programmers have a tendency to write code that is just complicated enough that it still runs, but is unmaintainable.

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Apple's iOS updates brick iPads

ratfox
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Trollface

Apple doesn't have a bug bounty program?

Must be because their programs don't have bugs!

…Even with the icon, I feel I'm overdoing it here. Meh.

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PLA sysadmin gets six months house arrest for yanking US Army docs

ratfox
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Six months only? House arrest, no jail?

I'm genuinely surprised. It must have been very unimportant classified material.

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Lyft, Uber throw Texas-sized tantrum over Austin driver law

ratfox
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Did Uber just openly declare how a town can get rid of them?

New fingerprinting regulations coming up in 3, 2, 1...

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Facebook image-tagging to be tested in Californian court

ratfox
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Unfortunately, you need to use random names for this to work. It's too easy to just filter out Boaty McBoatface.

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Experian Audience Engine knows almost as much about you as Google

ratfox
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ratfox
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Re: "you are bombarded with motorbike insurance advertising on every platform you go to"

If advertisers are legit enough to be buying this info from Experian, they're legit enough to play by the rules.

Are you suggesting you are fine with companies aggregating your private info as long as they sell it to whoever is willing to pay?

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Revealed: The revolving door between Google and the US govt – in pictures

ratfox
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Re: former Google staff occupy key posts in areas essential to Google’s

In itself, he number of people jumping from one to the other is not very meaningful. I understand that there are thousands of employees who have left Google for Facebook, and Facebook for Google. Google and Facebook are still at each other's throats, and I doubt that anybody suspects the allegiance of people who switch.

Even when people in high position switch, it doesn't always turn the way you'd expect. Tom Wheeler used to be a cable company CEO, he switched to head of the FCC, and he is a goddamn pain for the cable companies today. In fact, he is acting exactly as if he was working for Google; go figure.

But Obama was always friendly with Google. If I remember correctly, they were doing analytics work for him on his campaign trail. I guess we only need to wait for Obama to get a seat on Google's board.

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The case for ethical ad-blocking

ratfox
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Re: @ tannin

No one has any idea how much advertising actually pays.

Google does! For them, it pays a lot. And note that Google does not get paid for just showing ads; the user actually had to click on them. Which must means there is somewhere a whole lot of users who like ads and click on them.

I don't know who they are either.

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Another failed merger, Carly? Ted Cruz to bring in ex-HP boss Fiorina as running mate

ratfox
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Devil

Brick tied to another brick?

That'll float!

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US government tells Apple it has security problems that Apple fixed last year

ratfox
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Re: Basic maths...

20% is a rather high percentage to decide not to support. I think Microsoft people would love to be able to give that kind of answer.

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Ding-dong, reality calling: iPhone slump is not Apple's doom

ratfox
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Go

Re: Revenues

As for myself, I'd settle for earning this over 50'000 years, in yearly installments.

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Tokyo rebrands 2020 Olympics

ratfox
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Trollface

Whichever they choose will certainly be better than the Lisa Simpson one.

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Amazon attempts rule fudge to take exclusive control of new dot-words

ratfox
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It looks like this!

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Edward Snowden sues Norway to prevent extradition

ratfox
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I assume Snowden is treating the waters to check if he could leave Russia for good. I doubt it would be worth the effort just to pick up a prize in person.

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