Topics to impress this week.
1. Apple of discord
Apple has reached an agreement with the EU to begin paying US$15.4bn in back taxes it was ordered to pay Ireland. Bizarrely, Ireland has resisted collecting the money, and appealed the decision.
The ruling was issued by the EU more than a year ago, but Ireland has styled itself as a low-tax environment to spur investment. As a result, Apple used the country as a tax shelter, paying rates of 0.005% on its European profits between 2003 and 2014.
The agreement was made days after activists occupied Apple stores in France, demanding that the company pay up.
2. Too much information
Google may be forced to pay more than 5m iPhone users compensation after it was accused of selling their data without consent. A consumer campaign in Britain is launching a class action lawsuit against the company for unlawfully harvesting the browsing histories of iPhone users.
Google’s algorithms reportedly tricked people’s iPhones into releasing personal data from the phones’ default browser, Safari, between June 2011 and February 2012.
Lawyers estimate that if the 5.4m people claim a fixed amount of about £500 each, Google will have to fork out £2.7bn.
3. Cryptocurrency crackdown
The UK and other EU governments are planning a crackdown on bitcoin, which they fear is being used for money laundering and tax evasion. They plan to bring cryptocurrencies in line with anti-money laundering and counterterrorism legislation, says The Guardian. This will force traders to disclose their identities, ending the anonymity that makes bitcoin attractive for illegal activities.
Regulation will mean that online platforms trading in bitcoins will be required to carry out due diligence on customers and report suspicious transactions.