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Apple Inc. have been paying an effective tax rate of under 2% in Ireland over the past decade.

There’s now a legal dispute over this, but not the way that you might think, or that might make any sense whatsoever. The question being disputed is actually whether the Irish government might be “forced to recoup tax” from the company. The state is apparently going out of its way to make sure this large international corporate behemoth doesn’t make any further contribution to public services.

I’m going to try to bear this in mind the next time the anarchist commentary on a news story about some capitalist atrocity seems a little over-the-top.

(Also, between scribbling the above and getting around to posting it: Facebook.)

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– I support men’s rights. This is not what I mean by that.

– It’s not a Cracked list, but this summary of the 7 Worst International Aid Ideas is still pretty tragically funny in places. Where it isn’t just tragic.

– Turns out Facebook aren’t too thrilled about employers demanding your passwords either. You know it has to be pretty fucked up for Facebook to be unequivocally on the right side of a privacy issue.

– Man, some white people really love to get racially offended.

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I’d really like to think that this is just one of those cases where the freedom-hugging liberati (like me) have leapt onto an urban legend and become prematurely outraged. You know, like those shitstorms over whatever sexy thing kids were supposed to be doing with coloured wristbands.

But it’s getting reported on the AP, and so I think the ACLU is right to object when companies are demanding that potential employees hand over their log-in details to social media sites such as Facebook as part of the recruitment process.

I need a job. I’m still waiting for an interview from any of these basic admin roles I’m firing off copies of my CV for. But I don’t need one badly enough that, if someone asks for my Facebook password to check out my background, I can’t afford to tell them to fuck right off.

If you’re going to consider hiring me, there are certain things you have a right to know about me. The information provided on my CV, and the way I carry myself and answer personal questions during the interview, should cover most of it. But things like my private Facebook updates, my direct Twitter messages, my personal emails? None of your fucking business.

There are things I do and say when I’m unguarded and among friends, which are different from my actions in public or in the presence of people I don’t know. Maybe there are things in there I wouldn’t want a potential employer to see, but it is absolutely not their place to generalise from my private, unguarded musings to conclusions about how I’m going to behave as an employee.

Go back ten years. What if employers then had demanded to read your diary? Browse your internet history? Get a log of all the text messages you’ve received and sent? Check what magazines you keep under the mattress? Examine the doodlings in the margins of all your school exercise books? (Mostly cocks, right? And balls. Mostly cocks and balls. Right?)

None of that would have flown, so what’s supposedly different now? If it’s not information I’ve made publicly available to everyone, if it’s not something I’ve freely discussed with you, and if it’s not a criminal conviction in a field relevant to my prospective job description, then it’s not something you have the right to learn about me.

I might personally be tempted – if I were in that situation, and before I told them just how very off they could fuck – to ask some prying questions of my own, to help me decide whether I really want to enter into a contract with this company. Maybe a close look at its financial records, an analysis of any tax loopholes employed, details of executives’ pay as compared to both company performance and median salaries… that kind of thing.

But of course, these are large corporate entities we’re talking about, and I’m an unemployed worker. It’s clear where the power lies in such relationships these days.


Postscript: Did you know that, before the internet, people often had quite wide nets of occasional acquaintances, and would socialise casually with numerous people, rather than remaining largely isolated or sticking to a small bunch of like-minded allies? I know, right? Crazy times.

Well, maybe not so crazy. If you’re a regular reader or commenter here, let’s be PALS (Personal Associates of Low-level Sincerity). Drop me a line on Facebook letting me know who you are, and let’s broaden those social horizons a little.

 

(Note: This is an experiment in alpha testing phase. I may get bored of you at any moment, without warning, and go back to just using social media to talk to my actual friends. Nothing personal.)

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Hello there. I have some links about things for you to click your mices onto.

– There’s been some bitching lately, mostly among Facebook groups, about people not being allowed to wear football strips or fly English flags in pubs, and how it’s obviously the fault of foreign people wearing turbans and claiming benefits. Allow Carmen to set a few things straight.

– Science-based Parenting has an interesting article about the relative merits of Bristol Palin and Lady Gaga as role models for young women.

I saw this trailer in the cinema on Sunday, for a dark and horrifying story about a truly terrifying and sinister individual. Have a look. It’s actually really good.

– Oh yeah, I went to the cinema on Sunday to watch Four Lions, and it was brilliant. Chris Morris is totally forgiven for that shite he did in between being awesome. The Islamic extremists were well-rounded and complex human characters, but never so deliberately heartstring-tuggingly sympathetic that you forget that they’re complex human characters who plan to commit mass murder. It was genuinely funny and consistently quite moving, and I can be a cynical and hard-to-please bastard on both those points. Highly recommended.

– You probably noticed when Google turned their front-page logo into a playable Pacman game last week. According to somebody’s calculations, this cost the world nearly five million hours of productivity. My first thought – aside from “worth it” – is that calling this a “cost” assumes that every minute of every one of those hours would have been spent hard at work, were it not for Google’s mischievous intervention. Speaking from personal experience, it seems far more likely that many of them would have been spent doing something else of no practical value instead.

– And most excitingly of all, I am re-launching The Daily Half-Truth in an effort to get myself writing stuff more regularly. So you should start checking back over there every weekday, or turn it into RSS food or something, for short chunks of surreal snarky humour about stuff that’s going on in the world. Here’s the first in this new run. (It’s about Lost, but don’t worry, there are no spoilers for the finale. I still haven’t seen it, for one thing.)

Right then. Back to work.

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