Thursday, March 16, 2017

US and Canadian agencies breached- The Sydney metro – the doubt and mess continues

The Tax Havens housing 26 per cent of the world's wealth

California Businessman Sentenced to Prison for Concealing Over $23.5 Million in Israeli Bank Accounts  

Bogus self-employment exploits workers and scams the taxman

David Gamage (Indiana) & Darien Shanske (UC-Davis), Tax Cannibalization and Fiscal Federalism in the United States, 111 Nw. U. L. Rev. 295 (2017):

The current structure of U.S. federal tax law incentivizes state governments to adopt tax policies that inflict costs on the federal government, at the expense of national welfare. We label this the “tax cannibalization problem.”

Kay Bell, Security concerns prompt U.S. and Canadian tax officials to temporarily take down some online systems. “The United States and Canada share more than the world’s longest undefended border. They also share attacks by cyber criminals on their online tax systems.”

Survival of the buzziest. In our clickbait culture, critics are dying off. But popularity is not a substitute for value, or so we keep telling ourselves... Irony of Secret Service and Buzz of undercover

Raped, beaten, exploited: the 21st-century slavery propping up Sicilian farming Guardian

Too few truck drivers – another bogus skills shortage story Fabius Maximus 

Canada's government said on Monday that it shut down its website for filing federal taxes after hackers broke into a web server at the nation's statistics bureau last week by exploiting a newly disclosed software bug. Statistics Canada, which said it stopped the intrusion before hackers stole any data, is the first high-profile organization to say it was hacked due to a new security bug in software known as Apache Struts 2. The software is commonly used in websites of governments, banks, retailers and other large organizations.

Other victims have not yet come forth, although security firms said they expect more attacks to surface after details on the easy-to-exploit vulnerability were posted on security forums and hacking websites last week. Technicians at big corporations and government agencies around the world spent the weekend combing their networks for vulnerable software and patching it, said Chris Camacho, chief strategy officer with cyber intelligence firm Flashpoint. He said the vulnerability was actively being exploited by hackers, but declined to provide details, citing client confidentiality.
Canadian agency breached as hackers exploit new software bug Reuters

The former Digital Transformation Office's vaunted “” project collapsed because it duplicated work that other government departments were already doing for themselves, and didn't do what agencies wanted.
Speaking to a Senate committee yesterday, interim CEO of the since-renamed Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) Nerida O'Loughlin said isn't a failed project.
“We are continuing to work on how we can drive making government Websites significantly easier to use, simpler, cheaper, and less of them”, she said.
However, she revealed that the DTA presented both its alpha (in December 2015) and beta (in 2016) before it emerged that the work was a mis-directed duplicate of work already happening in other government departments.
“There was a lot of transformation work going on in departments … they felt there wasn't a need for a single Website,” she told the Senate's Finance and Public Administration Committee yesterday. 

DTA: isn't dead, it's resting. Or pivoting, as digi-hipsters say

A little more real information about Sydney rail development is coming to light. It is not dispelling the doubts about metro. A decision on Badgerys Creek rail, which would have been straightforward without the metro, is now ‘years off’. The extent of metro disruption is becoming evident – spreading to even non-metro lines.  Continue reading 

FRANK STILWELL and CHRISTOPHER SHEIL. The IMF is showing some hypocrisy on inequality

The IMF should practice what it preaches when it comes to inequality.  Continue reading 

When a Tax Strategy Benefits a Subnational Government  

2014-polo-ao5-1-million-lineBy: Leandra Lederman
Usually we think of tax shelters and other tax strategies as the province of private parties. These shelters may involve accommodation parties, even foreign government infrastructure, such as transportation systems, but we tend to think of private parties as getting the tax benefits. We may not think as often about a subnational government bolstering its tax revenues at the expense of the national government, particularly via a cooperating private party’s transaction structure. But that’s what happened a few years ago in Spain.
There is a Volkswagen (VW) plant in Pamplona, a city in the autonomous community of Navarra. From 2007-2011, Navarra reportedly collected approximately 1.5 billion Euros in value-added tax (VAT) from Volkswagen for its cars manufactured at the plant there. If VW-Navarra (which is a subsidiary of SEAT) had shipped the cars directly from Navarra to Germany, presumably Navarra would have had to refund that VAT. (Cars shipped to Germany leave Spain “clean of VAT* (translation mine))

Felix Garcia spent 34 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit. Was it because he's deaf?

We do not live in times of peace. Although we don’t witness it the global cyber war is raging on. Norse Corp one of the leading cyber security firms developed an interactive map that shows just how serious it has become.
This mesmerizing map is hypnotic. If you watch long enough, the map will explode with colors, as mass-hack attacks blast across the globe. The tables below the map show the country of origin and target, attacks types and the real-time list of attacks.
What’s striking is that the map represents a tiny fraction of the full list of attacks. Norse is showing us only a small sample of its data, and still, you can easily see when massive, targeted and well-organized strikes happen mainly in the US and China.
This map is very scary as it makes you realize that we live in the times of war. Cyber war.

Best of the Blogs – 14 March 2017