Senate Stories April 20, 2016

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Just a day after a prominent legal expert described the proposed anti-encryption Burr-Feinstein bill as unconstitutional, unenforceable and harmful, Apple has called the proposal ‘well-intentioned but ultimately unworkable.’

The description is in an open letter from the Reform Government Surveillance coalition, of which Apple is a key member, alongside companies such as Google, Dropbox, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter. The letter, addressed to the two Senators behind the proposed bill, explains why it would be harmful to the interests of both the U.S. people and American businesses …

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Senate Stories April 14, 2016

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A proposed law that would force Apple and other tech companies to decrypt devices for law enforcement agencies has reached the stage of a draft bill – but one Senator has vowed to filibuster it. A filibuster is when a parliamentarian makes a lengthy, uninterrupted speech which results in running out of time to debate the bill, causing it to fail.

The Senate Intelligence Committee first proposed to introduce the bill in February, and the FBI lent its support by briefing two sponsoring senators. However, many lawmakers oppose the bill, and it has been reported that the White House will not publicly support it.

The Verge now reports that one senator has pledged to filibuster the bill if it gets as far as a Senate debate …

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Senate Stories November 14, 2014

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Bloomberg reports that groups representing Apple, Google, Facebook and other high profile tech companies are lobbying to pass a new bill that attempts to limit NSA spying of email and communications of their users. The report says the groups are “pushing the Senate to pass legislation limiting National Security Agency spying before the Republican majority takes control of the chamber.” The news comes ahead of the Senate vote on the new bill scheduled for Nov. 18 and an upcoming Republican controlled Congress taking over in January: expand full story

Senate Stories July 16, 2014

iphone-5s-hero-l-201311iPhone users could soon finally be able to easily use any supported carrier at the end of their service contract without having to jump through hoops or use other means to unlock the device. That is if a proposed bill currently processing through Congress passes and becomes law.

The Hill reports that the mentioned bill, the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, cleared through the Senate after a vote on Tuesday through a ‘unanimous consent agreement’ and will next move to the House for a vote before potentially becoming law after first being introduced last year. expand full story

Senate Stories July 11, 2014

E-Label Act wants to remove unsightly regulatory symbols from the back of your mobile devices

Those pesky regulatory symbols on the back of your smartphone or tablet may soon be going digital if a new bill being presented to the US Senate gets approved. The E-Label Act is a bipartisan bill that would give electronics manufacturers the option to use digital stamps instead of branding devices with government-mandated tattoos.

Senate Stories May 28, 2013

EU Tax Commissioner calls for end to tax havens following Senate hearing on Apple’s offshore tax practices

Apple’s Irish tax havens and its agreement with the country to pay corporation tax of approximately 2% on earnings have been a big focus of controversy surrounding the U.S. Senate’s investigation into the offshore tax practices of Apple and many other large technology multinationals. Today, Bloomberg reports that EU Tax Commissioner Algirdas Semeta has addressed concerns by calling for an end to “specific incentives to foreign companies or wealthy individuals” attempting to avoid taxation. It could possibly lead to a broader crackdown of the practice in EU nations criticized for their tax policies including Ireland, Luxembourg, Austria, and the Netherlands.

“Some member states have fairly loose or relatively liberal double-taxation agreements with third countries,” Semeta said in a Brussels speech today to the Friends of Europe group. “These very loose agreements actually allow aggressive tax planners to shift their profits through EU member states to third countries and to avoid taxation in general.”

Senate Stories May 21, 2013

Update: Live coverage of the Senate hearing on Apple’s offshore tax practices is above.

As things heat up in the row on alleged tax avoidance by Apple, Ireland has denied a claim made by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations that it had agreed a special deal with the company to allow it to pay corporation tax of just 2% on its Irish earnings.

The denial was made to Yahoo! Finance reporter Conor Humphries:

According to the congressional report, Ireland had also agreed a special 2 percent rate for Apple’s Irish taxable profits instead of the normal 12.5 percent, but a spokesman for Ireland’s finance department, when asked how and why this had come about, said: “Ireland’s tax system is statute based, so there is no possibility of individual special tax rate deals for companies.”

This appears to flatly contradict a statement by the Senate subcommittee that accused Apple of … expand full story

Senate Stories May 20, 2013

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Apple today has published its testimony proposing corporate tax reform and detailing the company’s tax practices ahead of CEO Tim Cook’s appearance at a Senate hearing on offshore tax practices scheduled for tomorrow.

In the testimony, Apple proposed what it called comprehensive corporate tax reform that should: Be revenue neutral, eliminate all corporate tax expenditures, lower corporate income tax rates; and implement a reasonable tax on foreign earnings that allows free movement of capital back to the US.

While some Subcommittee members may have differing views on these tax policy matters, Apple hopes the Subcommittee will see that these recommendations aim to create meaningful change and go well beyond what most US companies propose. As both a pioneer and participant in the American innovation economy, Apple looks forward to working with the Subcommittee on its efforts to encourage comprehensive reform of the US corporate tax system. Apple appreciates the opportunity to appear before the Subcommittee to contribute constructively to this important debate.

Apple also detailed the company’s current tax practices and noted it “made income tax payments to the US Treasury totaling nearly $6 billion – or $16 million per day.” Apple points out that, at a rate of 30.5%, that accounts for around “$1 out of every $40 of corporate income taxes collected by the US Treasury last year.”

Apple continued by commenting on its recent decision to borrow $17 billion in debt instead of repatriating offshore funds to help fund its shareholder return: expand full story

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