Many countries are in the throes of a debate about the amount of surveillance a government should be allowed to carry out on its own people. But in other countries, where there are few, if any, checks on the state's powers, a potential dictatorship of data is already on the horizon. The grey, drab former headquarters of the Stasi - East Germany's Security Service - is famous for its miles of paper files. Those files recorded the detailed information kept on the citizens of the former Communist state, drawn from a wealth of human informers and bugging devices. Parts of the former office complex are now a museum open to the public, but in one corridor normally closed to the public there is a jumble of dated-looking equipment - a primitive computer looking more like a spin-dryer for clothes and old magnetic discs the size of a football, which held a fraction of what you can now fit on a USB stick. This is all that remains of the Stasi's dreams of what computers could do for them. "I think … [Read more...] about Will Big Data lead to Big Brother?
Lead generating companies for funeral plans
The prospect of buying a sofa or a new kitchen used to be an intimidating prospect for many households – a large outlay that would blow the budget. But then came “buy now, pay later” credit, which meant families could buy in store and spread payments over a few years. These loans soon gained a bad reputation and shrank away, but did not vanish. Now they have re-emerged, rebranded and aimed at a technologically aware generation of shopper – while also being blamed in part for the mushrooming debt that UK consumers are drowning in. “The rise of ‘buy now, pay later’ retailing is of great concern, as more people are being enticed into high-cost debt that they may struggle to repay,” said Ros Altmann, the campaigner and former pensions minister. “Financial resilience across the population is weakening, debt levels are rising and if too many customers are unable to repay their debts in future, we could see a repeat of the financial … [Read more...] about How ‘lifestyle’ spending choices are luring a generation into debt
The US has warned the European commission that it will consider retaliating if Brussels goes ahead with plans to demand billions of dollars in unpaid taxes from Apple and other US multinational companies. The Obama administration warned the EU on Wednesday that its investigations into alleged tax avoidance by US firms, including Apple, Amazon and Starbucks, could “create an unfortunate international tax policy precedent”. In a white paper commissioned by US Treasury secretary Jack Lew, the US warned that Brussels was overstepping its powers and becoming a “supranational tax authority”. The US warned that if Brussels pushes ahead with threatened plans to demand as much as $19bn (£14.4bn) from Apple for alleged unpaid taxes as a result of so-called sweetheart deals with Ireland the US Treasury will “consider potential responses”. The EU has been investigating whether Apple’s tax deals with Ireland, which allowed the company to pay very … [Read more...] about US warns Europe over plan to demand millions in unpaid taxes from Apple
On a night dedicated to red carpet glamour, The Fashion Awards 2017 in Partnership with Swarovski were the perfect opportunity to express individual style. From models to musicians, it was Ashley Graham, Karlie Kloss, Hailey Baldwin and Rita Ora who commanded attention in an array of glamorous dresses as they lit up the red carpet outside the historic Royal Albert Hall in London's Kensington Gore on Monday night. From figure-hugging to sweeping and short to sheer dresses, the stars each proved exactly why they were coveted guests at the exclusive hot-ticket event. Scroll down for video Leading the glamour: On a night dedicated to red carpet glamour it was (from left) Ashley Graham, Karlie Kloss, Hailey Baldwin and Rita Ora who led the way The Fashion Awards 2017 in Partnership with Swarovski on Monday evening On the runway she is familiar to slipping into the skimpiest of ensembles, so it is no surprise that Hailey, the 21-year-old daughter of … [Read more...] about Red carpet rivals! Ashley Graham, Karlie Kloss, Hailey Baldwin and Rita Ora lead the glamour at the star-studded Fashion Awards 2017
François Hollande has been accused of betraying the values of the left and the French Republic by pressing ahead with plans to strip French citizenship from dual-nationality citizens who are convicted of terrorism. The threat to revoke nationality was a central plank of the French president’s hardline “war” speech to a joint session of parliament in Versailles days after the Paris attacks in November. It has proved popular with the public – one poll last month showed that 94% of French people approved of the proposal. But Hollande’s critics say the measure would have little practical effect in dissuading terrorists and risks stigmatising people further by creating the symbolic idea of a two-tier French state where certain citizens are worth more than others. This week it was thought that the measure had been abandoned amid fierce criticism from historians and commentators and dissent within the Socialist party. But on Wednesday the Socialist prime … [Read more...] about Hollande accused of ‘betraying Republic’ over dual-nationality plan