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Tag: United Kingdom (UK)

UK introduces 2% tax on search engines, social media services, and online marketplaces

Adrian Potoroaca, TechSpot »

The UK has announced that starting in April, it’ll tax revenue made from digital services like online marketplaces, search engines, social media platforms, streaming services, and pretty much any other online company that derives value from UK users.

The Digital Services Tax (DST) will apply to multinational companies that register revenues of £500 million ($641 million) on an annual basis, but only if £25 million ($32 million) of that is derived from UK users. The UK wants to tax the latter chunk at a rate of 2 percent.


By comparison, Spain and France are looking to tax digital revenue at a rate of 3 percent, but the latter country has been persuaded by other EU members to hold off on applying the new rules until the end of this year, when the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) will have to reveal a preliminary draft for international tax rules that are supposed to bring 137 countries on the same page.

More » Gov.UK, Protocol, The Register, Engadget, SiliconANGLE, CNet

UK government’s MI5 spies want “exceptional access” to your encrypted communications

Dan Sabbagh, The Guardian »

MI5’s director general has called on technology companies to find a way to allow spy agencies “exceptional access” to encrypted messages, amid fears they cannot otherwise access such communications.

Sir Andrew Parker is understood to be particularly concerned about Facebook, which announced plans to introduce powerful end-to-end encryption last March across all the social media firm’s services.

In an ITV interview to be broadcast on Thursday, Sir Andrew Parker says he has found it “increasingly mystifying” that intelligence agencies like his are not able to easily read secret messages of terror suspects they are monitoring.

Now that UK is no longer part of the EU, Google plans to move UK user data and accounts out of EU and into the US where data protection is weaker

Another consequence of Brexit.

Joseph Menn, Reuters »

The shift, prompted by Britain’s exit from the EU, will leave the sensitive personal information of tens of millions with less protection and within easier reach of British law enforcement.

The change was described to Reuters by three people familiar with its plans. Google intends to require its British users to acknowledge new terms of service including the new jurisdiction.

Ireland, where Google and other U.S. tech companies have their European headquarters, is staying in the EU, which has one of the world’s most aggressive data protection rules, the General Data Protection Regulation.

More » The Register

The Conservative British government is banning the sale of new gasoline, diesel, and hybrid cars and vans by 2035, less than 15 years

This will be a major boost for electric vehicle manufacturing.

This is also an opportunity to develop other clean, sustainable, and accessible propulsion technology.

Kylie MacLellan, Reuters »

Britain will ban the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars from 2035, five years earlier than planned, in an attempt to reduce air pollution that could herald the end of over a century of reliance on the internal combustion engine.

The step amounts to a victory for electric cars that if copied globally could hit the wealth of oil producers, as well as transform the car industry and one of the icons of 20th Century capitalism: the automobile itself.

More » BBC

Uber loses license to operate in London over safety concerns [Updated]

London is one of Uber’s biggest markets.

Gwyn Topham, writing for The Guardian »

Transport for London announced the decision not to renew the ride-hailing firm’s licence at the end of a two-month probationary extension granted in September. Uber was told then it needed to address issues with checks on drivers, insurance and safety, but has failed to satisfy the capital’s transport authorities.

TfL said on Monday it had identified a “pattern of failures” by Uber, including several breaches that placed passengers and their safety at risk.

In a statement, TfL said: “Despite addressing some of these issues, TfL does not have confidence that similar issues will not reoccur in the future, which has led it to conclude that the company is not fit and proper at this time.”

Uber denies everything.

Reuters »

“Over the last two months we have audited every driver in London,” said Uber’s boss in Northern and Eastern Europe Jamie Heywood.

“We have robust systems and checks in place to confirm the identity of drivers and will soon be introducing a new facial matching process, which we believe is a first in London taxi and private hire.”

Also from Reuters » ‘Unfit’ Uber loses London license over safety failures

From Uber:

TfL’s decision not to renew Uber’s license in London is extraordinary and wrong, and we will appeal. We have fundamentally changed our business over the last two years and are setting the standard on safety. TfL found us to be a fit and proper operator just two months ago, and we continue to go above and beyond. On behalf of the 3.5 million riders and 45,000 licensed drivers who depend on Uber in London, we will continue to operate as normal and will do everything we can to work with TfL to resolve this situation.

More » Autocar, TechCrunch, NY Times, The Verge, The Mac Observer, The Register, The Inquirer, Bloomberg, Engadget, Fast Company, BBC

Updated November 26, 2019

Via CNBC » One day after Uber lost its license, Indian ride-hail company Ola announced plans to launch in the London in the coming weeks.

Facebook to pay maximum UK fine in Cambridge Analytica scandal

Facebook has agreed to pay a £500,000 fine, the maximum allowed by the UK’s data protection watchdog, for its role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Facebook last year had appealed the penalty.

Reuters » 

Facebook has agreed to pay a 500,000 pound ($644,000) fine for breaches of data protection law related to the harvesting of data by consultancy Cambridge Analytica, Britain’s information rights regulator said on Wednesday.


The fine may be small for a company worth $540 billion, but it is the maximum the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) could issue and represents the first move by a regulator to punish Facebook over the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The ICO issued the fine last year after it said data from at least 1 million British users had been among the information harvested by the researcher and used for political purposes.

Read more »

ICO Statement

More » The Register, BBC, The Mac Observer, The Inquirer, The Guardian, NPR, TechCrunch, CNET, ZDNet, Security Affairs


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