Little by little, big tech’s veneer of invincibility is starting to crack | John Harris

Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon are rattled. And two women, one on each side of the Atlantic, are leading the wayJust for a moment, let us pull our eyes away from Brexit and focus instead on two interwoven stories about how the world has gone wrong,…

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Margrethe Vestager gets second term in EU competition job

Dane has won renown for taking on tech firms, upsetting Donald Trump in the processMargrethe Vestager, the high-flying Danish politician who has taken on Apple, Amazon and Google, will stay in charge of Europe’s competition rules and take charge of EU …

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Margrethe Vestager, EU tech regulator – ‘I fear social media will deactivate democracy’

Competition commissioner eschews a personal Facebook account ‘to give her children free space’Margrethe Vestager, the world’s most powerful regulator of tech companies, does not have a personal Facebook account. She decided to stay off the site, becaus…

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How about getting multinationals to pay their tax, as well as Gary Barlow? | Stefan Stern

The HMRC scored a win by closing down the ‘Liberty’ tax avoidance scheme favoured by celebrities, but it’s corporations who really need the crackdown

Aggressive tax avoidance. The clue is in the name. It’s not something most of us would attempt to pull off. Tax is the entry fee to a civilised society. Tax revenue allows the state to provide things for all of us that we could not possibly afford on our own. It is efficient, and it is fair.

So we should allow HM Revenue and Customs its brief moment of celebration that it has managed to close down another tax avoidance scheme, known as Liberty (geddit?), in which around 1,600 people invested between 2005 and 2009. HMRC expects to win back around £18m in unpaid tax from the various celebrities, sports stars and others who invested in this scheme, and a total of £325m from investors in similar schemes.

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Google’s fine is big news but the company faces a far bigger threat

The Canadian supreme court ruled that Google can be forced to pull results worldwide, not just the Canadian version of its search engine

Google has come face to face with two of its greatest nightmares this week. The first garnered enormous attention worldwide, and will be an expensive period regardless of how it shakes out; but the second flew below the radar, despite the fact that it could eventually be far more damaging to the company’s operating model.

Hitting the headlines was the European Union’s record €2.4bn fine of Google for anticompetitive practices relating to its shopping service. At the heart of the issue is the fact that the company treats its shopping search engine – Google Shopping – differently from those of competitors, placing it at the top of searches for products by default, and relegating similar services like price comparison site Kelkoo far down the results.

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EU insists trade deals must meet its labour and competition standards

Competition commissioner sees agreement with Canada as model but says deal with Brexit UK would be different

Countries seeking a trade deal with the EU should meet European standards on labour law and fair competition, one of the bloc’s most senior officials has said in remarks that reinforce Brexit red lines.

Margrethe Vestager, the EU competition commissioner, described the trade agreement with Canada as a model for the future because it enshrined recognition of labour standards, human rights and animal welfare.

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Ireland may not get Apple’s €13bn back taxes in full, EU says

Tech firm can could cut payments to Dublin if other member states demand a slice or it pays more to US parent company

Ireland may never see the full €13bn (£10.8bn) in unpaid taxes owed by Apple, the European commission has said, if other EU countries go after the American tech giant for a share.

The EU executive also said Apple could reduce its multibillion-euro tax bill to Ireland if it increased payments to its US parent company, as it revealed the full text of its landmark ruling against the US tech giant for the first time.

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What’s next for Apple’s €13bn tax battle?

Margrethe Vestager is on a US charm offensive, making the case about recovering alleged unpaid taxes – but she has been met with more offense than charm

In the wake of last month’s controversial decision by the European Commission to seek “recovery of illegal state aid” for alleged unpaid taxes in Ireland from Apple of up to €13bn – plus interest – the European competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, went to the United States this week on a “charm offensive” to make her case to government officials, lawmakers and trade officials.

Vestager met with US treasury secretary Jacob Lew, had a closed-door session with members of the US Senate finance committee, and spoke at the Global Antitrust Enforcement Symposium at Georgetown University, where she gave a vigorous defense of the EC’s decision.

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