The personal financial data of millions of taxpayers could be sold to private firms under laws being drawn up by HM Revenue & Customs in a move branded “dangerous” by tax professionals and “borderline insane” by a senior Conservative MP.
Despite fears that it could jeopardise the principle of taxpayer confidentiality, the legislation would allow HMRC to release anonymised tax data to third parties including companies, researchers and public bodies where there is a public benefit. According to HMRC documents, officials are examining “charging options”.
The government insists that there will be suitable safeguards on personal data. But the plans, being overseen by the Treasury minister David Gauke, are likely to provoke serious worries among privacy campaigners and MPs in the wake of public concern about the government’s Care.data scheme – a plan to share “anonymised” medical records with third parties.
The Care.data initiative has now been suspended for six months over fears that people could be identified from the supposedly anonymous data, which turned out to contain postcodes, dates of birth, NHS numbers, ethnicity and gender.
HMRC’s chequered record on data is likely to come under scrutiny given historical scandals involving the loss of personal information about 25 million child benefit claimants and 15,000 bank customers.
VC for the people – “It’s just that people who have options are much more likely to actually find success than people who don’t.”
- Swiss To Pay Basic Income 2,500 Francs Per Month To Every Adult – “A date for the vote itself is yet to be confirmed, however, it could take place before the end of this year, depending on the decision of the Swiss government.”
- Larry Summers on forwarding the Doozer economy – “In short, a Doozer economy in which we should stop worrying about making a viable return on investment relative to the wider social benefits of that investment is probably best.”
- The Rise of Anti-Capitalism – “THE unresolved question is, how will this economy of the future function when millions of people can make and share goods and services nearly free? The answer lies in the civil society, which consists of nonprofit organizations that attend to the things in life we make and share as a community.”
- It’s OK To Be Lazy – “I’m heavily invested in the notion that idleness, laziness, and procrastination are vital to the full flowering of human life. (If they aren’t, I’m fucked.)”
- Developing the Developed World – Peter Thiel on getting from 0 to 1 (and then from 1 to n…)
- The Google X-Factor – “Process reflects: 1) optionality, 2) via negativa, 3) magnitude of correctness (not frequency), 4) financial returns will reflect a power law, and 5) extraordinary performance comes only from correct non-consensus forecasts.
- Chart of the Week: How metro areas drive the U.S. economy – “It probably should come as no surprise that most U.S. economic activity is concentrated in metropolitan areas. What may be surprising, and what the map above shows so clearly, is just how concentrated in a handful of big metros the U.S. economy is.”
- Wealthiest Households Accounted for 80% of Postrecession Rise in Incomes – “A recent article by Labor Department senior economist Aaron Cobet highlights the sharp disparity between the wealthiest and poorest Americans in the aftermath of the 2007-2009 recession. ‘While average income has returned to pre-recession levels, income gains have been distributed unevenly,’ Mr. Cobet said. The economist mined Labor Department data to show that the top 20% of earners accounted for more than 80% of the rise in household income from 2008-2012. Income fell for the bottom 20%.”
- “Capital” and “labour” – ” ‘Looking at the 21st-century economy through the filter of the Marxist categories of ‘capital’ and ‘labor’ is not particularly insightful…’ ‘capital’ and ‘labour’ don’t necessarily map neatly into profits and wages, nor onto ‘workers’ and ‘capitalists’. Wages of workers and bosses can both be a share of the return on capital.”
- Why wouldn’t people want to reduce inequality? – “Why might this be? I’ve explored one answer to this question, which I’ll term ‘feedback in opinion formation.’ Everyone who’s ever held a microphone too close to a speaker knows what feedback is. It turns out that the same mechanism is at play in how we all form opinions, thanks to the degree to which our choices are all connected.”
A new study from researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, and the Icy Worlds team at NASA’s Astrobiology Institute, based at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, CA, describes how electrical energy naturally produced at the sea floor might have given rise to life. While the scientists had already proposed this hypothesis — called “submarine alkaline hydrothermal emergence of life” — the new report assembles decades of field, laboratory and theoretical research into a grand, unified picture.
Do not feed RSA private key information to the random subsystem as entropy. It might be fed to a pluggable random subsystem…. What were they thinking?!
Wow. The entire concept of it is so bad that if you can’t avoid it, it’s literally better to call exit() than go through with it.
There is a quote from you in this context that concerns me. In 2009 you said: “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.” The essence of freedom is precisely the fact that I am not obliged to disclose everything that I am doing, that I have a right to confidentiality and, yes, even to secrets; that I am able to determine for myself what I wish to disclose about myself. The individual right to this is what makes a democracy. Only dictatorships want transparent citizens instead of a free press.
Against this background, it greatly concerns me that Google – which has just announced the acquisition of drone manufacturer Titan Aerospace – has been seen for some time as being behind a number of planned enormous ships and floating working environments that can cruise and operate in the open ocean. What is the reason for this development? You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to find this alarming.
Historically, monopolies have never survived in the long term. Either they have failed as a result of their complacency, which breeds its own success, or they have been weakened by competition – both unlikely scenarios in Google’s case. Or they have been restricted by political initiatives.
Another way would be voluntary self-restraint on the part of the winner. Is it really smart to wait until the first serious politician demands the breakup of Google? Or even worse – until the people refuse to follow?
On Thursday, I questioned Russia’s involvement in mass surveillance on live television. I asked Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, a question that cannot credibly be answered in the negative by any leader who runs a modern, intrusive surveillance program: “Does [your country] intercept, analyse or store millions of individuals’ communications?”
I went on to challenge whether, even if such a mass surveillance program were effective and technically legal, it could ever be morally justified.
The question was intended to mirror the now infamous exchange in US Senate intelligence committee hearings between senator Ron Wyden and the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, about whether the NSA collected records on millions of Americans, and to invite either an important concession or a clear evasion. (See a side-by-side comparison of Wyden’s question and mine here.)
Clapper’s lie – to the Senate and to the public – was a major motivating force behind my decision to go public, and a historic example of the importance of official accountability.
In his response, Putin denied the first part of the question and dodged on the latter. There are serious inconsistencies in his denial – and we’ll get to them soon – but it was not the president’s suspiciously narrow answer that was criticised by many pundits. It was that I had chosen to ask a question at all.
Nigel Evans, who is £130,000 out of pocket after being cleared of sexual assault, has said he regretted his previous support for cutting legal aid.
The Ribble Valley MP had previously condemned the rising cost of legal aid and admitted he would probably have voted for the last round of cuts in 2011 had he not been Deputy Speaker at the time.
He said he was stunned to learn he would have to pay his legal fees even if he was acquitted – plus value added tax. Mr Evans, whose life savings have been wiped out, has pledged to campaign on the issue after his return to the Commons.
“It’s only when you go through these sorts of trauma that you see the first-hand consequences of that,” he told ITV News.
From Benoni Lanctot’s Chinese and English Phrase Book (1867), phrases for English-speaking employers of Chinese-Americans:
- Can you get me a good boy?
- He wants $8.00 per month.
- He ought to be satisfied with $6.00.
- When I find him useful, I will give him more.
- I think he is very stupid.
- Do you know how to count?
- If you want to go out, you must ask me.
- Come at seven every morning.
- Go home at eight every night.
- This lamp is not clean.
- See that the money is weighed.
- If there is any thing short, I will make him pay the difference.
- Take this plate away.
- Change this napkin.
- Did you prepare any toast?
- The tea is too strong.
- Make me a pigeon pie.
- Get a bottle of beer.
- Please carve that capon.
- Tell the cook to roast it better next time.
- This wine glass is not clean.
- The cook is very strange.
- Sometimes he spoils the dishes.
- Tell the cook to fry some pancakes.
- Don’t burn them.
- He did very bad last time.
- I want to cut his wages.
- This tea is very bad.
- Get out of the way.
- Don’t speak with me.
- Who gives you permission?
- Don’t be lazy.
- You ought not to do so.
- Pick this up.
- This is nothing to you.
- He is fit for nothing.
- That belongs to me.
- Carry it up stairs.
- You ought to be contented.
Phrases for Chinese speakers:
- Good morning sir.
- When shall I begin?
- I beg your pardon.
- Lunch is on the table, sir.
- I beg you to consider again.
- It is my duty.
- Sir, what will you have for dinner to-day?
- You must excuse me.
- You must not strike me.
Recently declassified documents reveal new details about Project AZORIAN: a brazen, $800-million CIA initiative to covertly salvage a Soviet nuclear submarine in plain sight of the entire world.
The story begins in March 1968, when a Soviet Golf II submarine — carrying nuclear ballistic missiles tipped with four-megaton warheads and a seventy-person crew — suffered an internal explosion while on a routine patrol mission and sank in the Pacific Ocean, some 1,900 nautical miles northwest of Hawaii. The Soviets undertook a massive, two-month search, but never found the wreckage. However, the unusual Soviet naval activity prompted the U.S. to begin its own search for the sunken vessel, which was found in August 1968.
The submarine, if recovered, would be a treasure trove for the intelligence community. Not only could U.S. officials examine the design of Soviet nuclear warheads, they could obtain cryptographic equipment that would allow them to decipher Soviet naval codes. And so began Project AZORIAN. The U.S. intelligence community commissioned Howard Hughes to construct a massive vessel — dubbed the Hughes Glomar Explorer (HGE) — to recover the sub. The ensuing salvage operation, which began in 1974, was only a partial success; the U.S. was planning to embark on a second attempt when, in 1975, the story was leaked to the press, and the operation was canceled.
Intel has already recognized that it is in the company’s long-term best interest to get into the ARM game in one capacity or another. At the same time, Intel no doubt has also recognized that it is not in the company’s short-term best interest to start producing large quantities of ARM-based chips for any company that asks. Intel has only so much production capacity, and the opportunity cost is too high to start producing low-margin ARM-based chips at the expense of its more profitable x64 processors. The company is at a crossroads: its short- and long-term best interests don’t align, and it has to choose one at the expense of the other.
That’s where Apple’s cash hoard comes in.
It’s interesting he doesn’t suggest Apple should outright buy Intel.
But as for building a chip factory for Intel, as well as the other worries he mentions, perhaps Apple should outright buy ASML to get a lead start on their EUV technology…
Across the United States, many local governments are responding to skyrocketing levels of inequality and the now decades-long crisis of homelessness among the very poor … by passing laws making it a crime to sleep in a parked car.
This happened most recently in Palo Alto, in California’s Silicon Valley, where new billionaires are seemingly minted every month – and where 92% of homeless people lack shelter of any kind. Dozens of cities have passed similar anti-homeless laws. The largest of them is Los Angeles, the longtime unofficial “homeless capital of America”, where lawyers are currently defending a similar vehicle-sleeping law before a skeptical federal appellate court. Laws against sleeping on sidewalks or in cars are called “quality of life” laws.
In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread.