signage is displayed in front of the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, U.S., on Friday, Sept. 27, 2013. Google is celebrating its 15th anniversary as the company reaches $290 billion market value. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images | Getty Get Business Newsletters: Subscribe Follow: Google , Corporate Tax Avoidance , Google Avoiding Taxes , Google Bermuda , Google British Taxes , Google Paying Less , Google Tax Avoidance , Google Tax Break , Google Taxes , Reuters , Business News By Tom Bergin LONDON, Sept 30 (Reuters) – Google, which has been grilled twice in the past year by a UK parliamentary committee over its tax practices, had a UK tax bill of 35 million pounds ($55 million) in 2012, on sales of $5.5 billion to British customers, its accounts showed. The Internet search giant paid a tax rate of 2.6 percent on $8.1 billion in non-U.S. income in 2012, because it channelled almost all of its overseas profits to a subsidiary in Bermuda which levies no corporate income tax, the group’s accounts show. Corporate tax avoidance has risen to the top of the international agenda in the past year with the G20 and G8 groups of leading economies promising to get to grips with the growing practice of companies diverting profits from where they are earned and into tax havens. Google said it follows all tax rules in every country where it operates and that it does not pay much tax in Britain because its profits are not generated by its UK employees. Google UK Ltd, and other subsidiaries across mainland Europe, pay little tax because they are designated as providers of marketing services to Google Ireland Ltd, the Dublin-based subsidiary whose name appears on invoices to most non-U.S. clients. Google declares little profit in Ireland because the unit there sends almost all of the profit earned from the non-U.S. clients to the Bermudan affiliate, in the form of licence fees for the use of Google intellectual property. The parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) grilled Google’s Northern Europe boss, Matt Brittin, in May after a Reuters investigation showed the company had advertised dozens of jobs for salespeople, despite Brittin telling the committee last year that the company does not pay tax on its UK revenues because it does not conduct sales from British territory.
UK gears up for cyberwarfare offensives
Speaking at the annual Conservative party conference, Hammond said the United Kingdom was dedicating additional resources and funds to building a strong cyber intelligence and surveillance network, according to Reuters . As cybercrime continues to prove a lucrative way for hackers to steal valuable data for profit or as part of state-sponsored jobs — and many governments struggle to catch up and protect networks adequately against rising attacks — defense budget funds now need to not only consider physical threats, but digital warfare as well. Hammond commented: “Last year our cyber defenses blocked around 400,000 advanced malicious cyber threats against the government’s secure internet alone, so the threat is real. But simply building cyber defenses is not enough: as in other domains of warfare, we also have to deter. Britain will build a dedicated capability to counterattack in cyberspace and if necessary to strike in cyberspace.” In February, the National Audit Office named “addressing the UK’s current and future ICT and cybersecurity skills gap” as a “key challenge.” The NAO report was published as part of the UK’s 650 million pound ($1.09 billion) Cyber Security Strategy scheme, and said it could take “20 years” to address the skills gap at all levels of education. Not only could a dedicated task force of offensive security experts deter hackers in the future, but the Defence Secretary told the Mail on Sunday that cyberstrikes could work “alongside conventional weapons in future conflicts,” disabling communications, nuclear weapons, ships and critical hardware. To establish the new cybersecurity force, the UK will recruit experts in their hundreds from a number of fields. The recruitment drive will include civilian computer experts who will be part of the “Joint Cyber Reserve,” and their role will be to work alongside members of the Ministry of Defence and GCHQ to protect critical infrastructure and prevent data theft. The cost of the program was not disclosed, but recruitment is due to begin in October. Hammond commented : “Increasingly, our defense budget is being invested in high-end capabilities such as cyber and intelligence and surveillance assets to ensure we can keep the country safe. The cyber reserves will be an essential part of ensuring we defend our national security in cyber-space. This is an exciting opportunity for Internet experts in industry to put their skills to good use for the nation, protecting our vital computer systems and capabilities.” The UK is also seeking ways to train the next generation of cyberspecialists. In May, two UK universities — Oxford and Royal Holloway — were granted 7.5 million pounds in funding to help develop the country’s skills in online security.
UK Cyber Response: Getting it Right Matters
The 2013 report lists a total of twenty-one cyber incident response groups operational in the UK; aside from the three government run response teams there are a number of industry and academic response groups, and companies providing response services. ENISA has encouraged each member state to have a single government backed national CERT, and has a set of minimum capability requirements such an organisation should meet. Currently the majority of companies in the UK have had no government backed central body for incident reporting, and no means of receiving bulletins and alerts of the type made available to critical infrastructure companies, and government departments. Companies suffering a malicious cyber incident are able to report to law enforcement or to Action Fraud ,( which acts a national point for reporting of online fraud and other criminal activity ), but the response to high tech crimes varies significantly from police force to police force , and for many it is not a high priority. Even with improvements, such as the proposed National Cyber Crime Unit, a police response will necessarily focus on prosecuting criminality rather than providing a reporting and information-sharing service. History Until 2007 the roles of CSIRTUK and GovCERT were combined, in what was effectively a national UK CERT forming part of the National Infrastructure Security Coordination Centre (NISCC), the predecessor to CPNI. The Unified Incident Reporting and Alert Scheme as it was named, was responsible for providing a central point for reporting incidents from both the public and private sector (though with an emphasis on critical infrastructure), and for producing bulletins and alerts on cyber threats. With the formation of CPNI the responsibility for incident response and alerting for government and public sector networks was passed to the newly formed GovCERTUK. CPNI took on the CERT role for the critical national infrastructure. Whilst both CSIRTUK and GovCERTUK continued to provide the same response and alerting services to their respective customer bases, the end of NISCC and UNIRAS resulted in an overall less cohesive response picture in the UK. In the intervening years the push for government departments to outsource has continued to blur the boundaries between the public and private sector.
Mike Barton, Police Chief, Says UK Should Decriminalize Drugs Because Drug War Is Failing
He argued that pushers had made billions from adulterated drugs, transforming them into local folk heroes for young people. “Decriminalising their commodity will immediately cut off their income stream and destroy their power,” he said. “Making drugs legal would tackle the supply chain much more effectively and much more economically than we can currently manage.” Mr Barton said that offering drugs therapeutically through the NHS and similar organisations would avoid the spread of HIV and hepatitis C among needle users. But he underlined that he was in favour of their use in a controlled environment, rather than a “free for all”. “I am saying that people who encourage others to take drugs by selling them are criminals, and their actions should be tackled,” he said. “But addicts, on the other hand, need to be treated, cared for and encouraged to break the cycle of addiction. They do not need to be criminalised.” Earlier on HuffPost: Loading Slideshow #1: Cannabis The UNODC estimates that 2.8-4.5% of the global population aged 15-64 used cannabis in 2009. According to the report, cannabis is by far the most widely used illicit substance. The Weed Fairy, left, smokes a massive marijuana joint right at 4:20 p.m. as thousands take part in the annual marijuana 420 smoke off at Dundas Square in Toronto on Friday, April 20, 2012. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette) #2: Amphetamines The UNODC estimates that 0.3-1.3% of the global population aged 15-64 used amphetamines, such as ecstasy, making it the second most used drug in the world. #3: Opioids The UNODC estimates that 0.5-0.8% of the global population aged 15-64 used opioids, such as heroin, in 2009, making it the third most used drug in the world.