110 Arrested in China for Online Rumors
Today in international tech news: More than 100 people are arrested in China for spreading rumors -- or something; Facebook paid zilch in UK corporation taxes; British authorities make Silk Road-related arrests; and Microsoft pays an Aussie hacker more than $100,000.
China continues to crack down on online rumors, as 110 people were detained in the northwest China province of Xinjiang.
Those arrested are accused of creating and spreading rumors, instigating violence and disseminating religious extremism.
Xinjiang, which until the 1940s was not part of China, is notoriously turbulent. There were protests leading up to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, and more protests in 2009, and more protests in 2011, and ... you get the idea. Twenty-four people were killed there in a June terrorist attack.
Facebook Paid Zilch in UK Corporation Tax
Facebook didn't pay a penny -- or a pence, as it were -- in British corporation tax last year despite pocketing an estimated US$350 million-plus in digital advertising.
Facebook paid about $380,000 in UK taxes in 2011, which many already considered an unreasonably minute amount. That bill has now plunged to $0 despite a 70 percent spike in the company's UK earnings.
Facebook doesn't pay much (or anything) in UK corporation taxes because it, like Google and Apple, funnel income through Ireland, where tax rates are more palatable than in the UK.
The chairwoman of the UK's public accounts committee, Margaret Hodge -- who famously said that Google acts evilly -- said she was "fed up" with companies skirting British taxes like this.
France has joined the UK in decrying this sort of tax avoidance. While the U.S. thwarted French efforts to get the G20 to adopt new international tax regulations, France is pushing for a European Union-wide corporate tax regime that would preclude the sort of clever bookkeeping that Facebook and Google use to avoid taxes.
[Source: The Guardian]
Four UK Arrests Over Silk Road Involvement
Four men -- three twentysomethings and a fourth man in his 50s -- were arrested in the UK for their role in Silk Road, the online marketplace that was shuttered last week by U.S. authorities.
The site used the digital currency Bitcoins to sell drugs and other illegal goods. The alleged operator of the site was nabbed in San Francisco, while a 40-year-old was arrested in Seattle on suspicion that he was one of the site's most prolific dealers.
Microsoft Pays $100K to Aussie Hacker
James Forshaw, a well-known Australian hacker, will receive $100,000 from Microsoft for finding security holes in the company's software. It is believed to be one of the largest awards ever doled out by the tech company to a hacker.
Forshaw pinpointed a new exploitation technique in Windows.
He pocketed another $9,400 from Microsoft for identifying security bugs in Internet Explorer 11.