Connect with us

Business

Google asks law enforcement, other agencies to pay for data search warrant

Published

on

Google’s fees range from $45 for a subpoena and $60 for a wiretap to $245 for a search warrant

Facing an increasing number of requests for its users’ information, began charging law enforcement and other government agencies this month for legal demands seeking data such as emails, location tracking information and search queries.

Google’s fees range from $45 for a subpoena and $60 for a wiretap to $245 for a search warrant, according to a notice sent to law enforcement officials and reviewed by The New York Times. The notice also included fees for other legal requests.

A spokesman for said the fees were intended in part to help offset the costs of complying with warrants and subpoenas.

Federal law allows to charge the government reimbursement fees of this type, but Google’s decision is a major change in how it deals with legal requests.

Some Silicon Valley have for years forgone such charges, which can be difficult to enforce at a large scale and could give the impression that a company aims to profit from legal searches. But privacy experts support such fees as a deterrent to overbroad surveillance.

charts

has a tremendous amount of information on billions of users, and law enforcement agencies in the United States and around the world routinely submit legal requests seeking that data. In the first half of 2019, the company received more than 75,000 requests for data on nearly 165,000 accounts worldwide; one in three of those requests came from the United States.

Google has previously charged for legal requests. A record from 2008 showed that the company sought reimbursement for a legal request for user data. But a spokesman said that for many years now, the tech firm had not systematically charged for standard legal processes.

The money brought in from the new fees would be inconsequential for Google. Just last week, the valuation of its parent company, Alphabet, topped $1 trillion for the first time. Alphabet is scheduled to report its latest financial results on February 3.

The new fees could help recover some of the costs required to fill such a large volume of legal requests, said Al Gidari, a lawyer who for years represented Google and other technology and telecommunications

The requests have also grown more complicated as tech companies have acquired more data and law enforcement has become more technologically sophisticated.

“None of the services were designed with exfiltrating data for law enforcement in mind,” said Gidari, who is now the consulting privacy director at Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society.

Gidari also said it was good that the fees might result in fewer legal requests to the company. “The actual costs of doing wiretaps and responding to search warrants is high, and when you pass those costs on to the government, it deters from excessive surveillance,” he said.

In April, The Times reported that Google had been inundated with a new type of search warrant request, known as geofence searches. Drawing on an enormous Google database called Sensorvault, they provide law enforcement with the opportunity to find suspects and witnesses using location data gleaned from user devices.

Those warrants often result in information on dozens or hundreds of devices, and require more extensive legal review than other requests.

A Google spokesman said that there was no specific reason the fees were announced this month and that they had been under consideration for some time. Reports put out by the company show a rise of just over 50 percent in the number of search warrants received in the first half of 2019 compared with a year earlier. The volume of subpoenas increased about 15 percent. From last January through June, the company received nearly 13,000 subpoenas and over 10,000 search warrants from American law enforcement.

Google will not ask for reimbursement in some cases, including child safety investigations and life-threatening emergencies, the spokesman said.

Law enforcement officials said it was too early to know the impact of the fees, which Google’s notice said would go into effect in mid-January.

Gary Ernsdorff, a senior prosecutor in Washington State, said he was concerned that the charges for search warrants would set a precedent that led more companies to charge for similar requests. That could hamper smaller law enforcement agencies, he said.

“Officers would have to make decisions when to issue warrants based on their budgets,” he said.

Mr. Ernsdorff said there was a potential silver lining, noting that the time it takes for Google to respond to warrants has significantly increased in the past year. Other law enforcement officers also said the time they had to wait for Google to fulfill legal requests had grown.


©2020 The New York Times Service

First Published: Sat, January 25 2020. 23:39 IST

Source: Business Standard

Business

We sold our Chester family home to rent a flat in London in our 50s

Published

on

By

Rising numbers of Britons will still be renting in retirement — but for some, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Statistics released this month show that over a decade, the number of those renting ahead of retirement has gone from one in 20 to nearly one in ten.

Yet we have spoken to older tenants who can afford to buy, but rent for the flexibility and even luxury owning a home does not always offer.

Downsized: David and Clare White gave up their Chester home for a luxury flat in London

Downsized: David and Clare White gave up their Chester home for a luxury flat in London

Downsized: David and Clare White gave up their Chester home for a luxury flat in London

There has also been a jump in the number of top-end properties being built to rent. They are usually flats owned by pension companies or large developers who employ professional management companies to run them.

They are modern and offer extras such as a gym, concierge service and communal lounges.

Previously, these types of properties were available only to buy. But increasing numbers of so-called purpose-built rented homes are popping up all over the country. 

There are 35,000 in the UK and a further 110,000 are being developed, according to the British Property Federation.

David and Clare White certainly didn’t expect to find themselves renting in their 50s. But after their children left for university, they decided to sell their family home in Chester and move to London.

David, 58, a management consultant, needed to be nearer the capital for work while Clare, 55, wanted a move.

David, 58, a management consultant, needed to be nearer the capital for work while Clare, 55, wanted a move. Pictured: the couple in their rented flat in Wembley

David, 58, a management consultant, needed to be nearer the capital for work while Clare, 55, wanted a move. Pictured: the couple in their rented flat in Wembley

David, 58, a management consultant, needed to be nearer the capital for work while Clare, 55, wanted a move. Pictured: the couple in their rented flat in Wembley

They settled on an apartment in a new, upmarket development in Wembley, North-West London.

Clare, a retail assistant, says: ‘We chose to rent because we didn’t know what the next stage of our lives would hold and we love the freedom. 

‘We don’t have to worry about maintenance and the complex is really sociable. The only downside is that we are limited on space.’

However, such upmarket rental properties come with an expensive price tag. 

The smiling couple enjoy some wine after a tough day in the city, with Wembley stadium visible from the balcony of their flat

The smiling couple enjoy some wine after a tough day in the city, with Wembley stadium visible from the balcony of their flat

The smiling couple enjoy some wine after a tough day in the city, with Wembley stadium visible from the balcony of their flat

Residents can expect to pay from £1,595 to £3,670 a month for one of the 1,500 luxury flats like David and Clare chose.

The cost includes John Lewis furnishings, Samsung appliances, parking and all utility bills except for council tax.

Prices vary around the country, but typically they are 11 per cent higher than local rents, according to property agents JLL.

In Salford, apartments in Clippers Quay cost between £900 and £1,500 a month, including wi-fi, while tenants of Bow Square, Southampton, would pay between £850 and £1,350, with utilities on top.

In Salford, apartments in Clippers Quay (pictured) cost between £900 and £1,500 a month, including wi-fi

In Salford, apartments in Clippers Quay (pictured) cost between £900 and £1,500 a month, including wi-fi

In Salford, apartments in Clippers Quay (pictured) cost between £900 and £1,500 a month, including wi-fi

Over a decade the proportion of those aged between 55 and 64 who are privately renting has almost doubled to 9.3 per cent, Office for National Statistics figures show.

Meanwhile, the percentage of 65 to 74-year-old renters has risen from 4.6 per cent to 6 per cent. More than 5 per cent of over-75s are tenants, up from 3.8 per cent.

A third of people in their mid-30s to mid-40s were tenants in 2017 — compared with fewer than one in ten 20 years previously.

Charity Age UK estimates there are now 750,000 over-60s in England living in rented homes, and MPs have predicted by 2046, there could be more than 1.5 million pensioners renting.

Retirement villages are also open to renters as of last year. The apartments are easily accessible for those who may rely on walking aids or wheelchairs. 

Care can be received at home for an extra fee.The change follows criticism that these homes are hard to re-sell.

David and Clare White certainly didn't expect to find themselves renting in their 50s. But after their children left for university, they decided to sell their family home in Chester and move to London

David and Clare White certainly didn't expect to find themselves renting in their 50s. But after their children left for university, they decided to sell their family home in Chester and move to London

David and Clare White certainly didn’t expect to find themselves renting in their 50s. But after their children left for university, they decided to sell their family home in Chester and move to London

Eye-watering service charges of more than £400 a month and annual ground rent have put off future buyers — meaning homeowners, or loved ones who have inherited the properties, have to discount the price heavily.

Inspired Villages has opened its schemes to renters, and more recently McCarthy & Stone announced plans to do the same.

But again, the price tag is steep. Singles renting from Inspired Villages will pay £660 a week and a couple sharing, £911. 

Benefits included are utilities, breakfast, a three-course meal a day, daily flat cleaning, laundry and maintenance.

Residents also have free access to a gym, pool, exercise classes and social events. Joe Oldman, policy officer for housing at Age UK, says: ‘[Renting] used to be for students and young professionals, but it has changed from a short-term solution to a long-term living arrangement for many.’

While retirement rental homes are often priced high, the industry is looking at ways to bring costs down, he adds.

Experts say villages tend to pop up in areas such as London, Bristol and Edinburgh, which have seen the biggest house price rises, as downsizers will have substantial equity to cover costs.

But homeowners who find themselves renting in later life will need to remember they will not have property equity they can fall back on in retirement, and have to be able to pay their rent from pension income. They also won’t have a home to pass on when they die. 

A drawback faced by older tenants who rent from individuals rather than companies is difficulty getting a home adapted for mobility needs, an issue Age UK has teamed up with National Landlords Association to address.

Lynn Anderton, 58, began renting after her marriage ended. She has lived in the same three-bedroom house on the Wirral for 12 years, paying £500 a month.

At first Lynn, a life coach, saw renting as a temporary solution, but she now enjoys the freedom it offers.

‘I realised I didn’t want the responsibility of a mortgage,’ she says. ‘I wasn’t in secure employment at the time and although I had some money from the sale of the property, I wasn’t in a good place to take something on.

‘Because I don’t own the house I can think about it as a home, not an asset I have to improve.’

However, she admits she has not yet given much thought to how she will afford the rent in retirement. 

Best mortgages

THIS IS MONEY PODCAST

 

Continue Reading

Business

Govt revises rules for enhanced disclosures in auditor reports of companies

Published

on

By

It would be applicable for audit of financial statements of eligible companies for the financial years commencing on or after April 1, 2019

will soon be required to provide details about companies’ defaults on borrowings in a prescribed format as well as ensure disclosure of various other information in their reports, with the government putting in place a stricter framework.

The corporate affairs ministry has notified the (Auditor’s Report) Order, 2020 (CARO, 2020). It would be applicable for audit of financial statements of eligible for the financial years commencing on or after April 1, 2019.

“CARO 2020 would necessitate enhanced due diligence and disclosures on the part of of eligible and has been designed to bring in greater transparency in the financial state of affairs of such companies,” the ministry said in a release on Wednesday.

Among other requirements, a specific format has been prescribed for to report the period and the amount of default by the company in repayment of loans or other borrowings or in the payment of interest thereon to any lender.

The ministry noted that the latest CARO is expected to significantly improve the overall quality of reporting by auditors on the financial statements of the companies.

This would “lead to greater transparency and faith in the financial affairs of the companies. This is automatically expected to greater inflow of investment by and in Indian companies,” it added.

First Published: Wed, February 26 2020. 14:02 IST

Source: Business Standard

Continue Reading

Business

Diesel dips below £1.20 a litre for the first time in 2 YEARS as ASDA cuts fuel prices

Published

on

By

Asda has announced a fresh new price cut of 2 pence per litre on petrol effective today. 

Motorists who brim their cars at the store’s forecourts will pay no more than 116.7p for a litre of unleaded and 118.7p for diesel.

This not only means that fuel as a whole is now at its lowest price since April 2019, but it also marks the first time diesel has dipped below the £1.20-a-litre mark for almost two years.

Asda's new fuel price cut: The supermarket has announced a fresh new reduction of 2 pence per litre on petrol effective from today

Asda's new fuel price cut: The supermarket has announced a fresh new reduction of 2 pence per litre on petrol effective from today

Asda’s new fuel price cut: The supermarket has announced a fresh new reduction of 2 pence per litre on petrol effective from today

Drivers filling up at any of the supermarket’s 322 UK petrol stations will be paying up to 9p a litre less for fuel than they were at the start of January following two previous price cuts before today’s in response to declining wholesale costs. 

The previous reduction came on 5 February, when Asda initiated a price war with rival supermarkets by slashing 4p off a litre of diesel and trimming 2p from petrol costs. 

Dave Tyrer, Asda’s senior fuel buyer, said: ‘Once again we’re pleased to be passing on wholesale cost reductions to customers. 

‘It will be a welcomed boost, especially to diesel drivers who are seeing some of the lowest fuel prices since 2018.

‘Anybody filling up at Asda will pay no more than 116.7ppl on unleaded and 118.7ppl on diesel regardless of where they live.’ 

Motorists are now paying up to 9p a litre less for fuel than they were at the start of 2020 following two previous cuts initiated by Asda

Motorists are now paying up to 9p a litre less for fuel than they were at the start of 2020 following two previous cuts initiated by Asda

Motorists are now paying up to 9p a litre less for fuel than they were at the start of 2020 following two previous cuts initiated by Asda

The AA says it is time other major fuel retailers to pass on savings to motorists.

It accused the wider industry of pocketing surplus funds from cheaper oil and wholesale costs for weeks, allowing them to profit from the nation’s already hard-pressed drivers. 

Luke Bodset, the fuel price spokesman for the motoring group said: ‘Mid-February saw the chunk of the petrol pump price that is directly attributable to the fuel trade grow to its biggest in more than a year. 

‘Stripping out tax and wholesale costs – from two weeks before to allow changes to reach pumps fully – left an 11p surplus for retailers and suppliers – around 2p up on the same time last year.’

The AA has accused some fuel retailers of profiting 11p per litre by not passing on wholesale savings to motorists

The AA has accused some fuel retailers of profiting 11p per litre by not passing on wholesale savings to motorists

The AA has accused some fuel retailers of profiting 11p per litre by not passing on wholesale savings to motorists

Bodset added: ‘This has come as too many forecourts held on to savings from lower wholesale costs feeding through to their pumps. 

‘Even when Asda announced its second price cut of the year, a 3p-a-litre reduction on Wednesday 29 January, it took until the following Monday for the UK average to drop just a penny as other retailers squeezed another weekend’s worth of high prices out of consumers.’

The remaining big four supermarkets – Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco – are now expected to match Asda’s cuts.

As has been the case already this year, these are not likely to come on the same day, meaning motorists may have to wait until later in the week to benefit from cheaper pump prices depending on which fuel retailer is closest to them. 

Continue Reading

Trending