Brussels threatens EU treaty European application to countries that allow the networks of technology multinationals to pay less taxes - In recent weeks, the European Union has been redoubling its offensive against the tax avoidance practices of major US technology companies in the EU. Last Wednesday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen assured that the EU will unilaterally approve a Google tax in 2021 if no agreement is reached in the OECD or the G20 to create a global tax.

A week later, the European Economic Commissioner, Paolo Gentiloni, assured this Wednesday in an interview with the Financial Times that the EC will pressure the EU countries to eradicate the tax networks that allow the big tech companies to pay less tax by declaring their income in the countries with the lowest tax regimes, in a process that will begin in 2021.

Gentiloni has pointed out that this measure is part of the reform plans that the European coronavirus Recovery Fund, valued at 750.000 million euros, will ask the 27 to receive funding. "We must use all the tools at our disposal to address aggressive fiscal planning, especially now that we are working on the principles that will define the implementation of the Recovery Fund."

In this way, the European Economic Commissioner has told The Financial Times that he will demand that the "recovery and resilience" plans submitted by the governments of the 27 to the EC under the Recovery Fund address measures that are considered to "facilitate aggressive tax planning" of large non-EU companies.

Mr Gentiloni explained that "the current legislative procedure can make the adoption of tax proposals extremely slow"” and he undertook to explore the possibilities of using Article 116 of the EU Treaty, which would imply that unanimity is not needed to approve these initiatives but a qualified majority, which would prevent the veto of the Netherlands, Ireland, Luxembourg or Hungary.

Brussels threatens EU treaty European application

Article 116 of the EU treaty makes it possible to take measures against EU countries that distort conditions of competition in the internal market, as is the case with tax regimes that are more lax than those of their partners. To do this, the rule states that countries must change rules that harm competition or face a lawsuit before the EU Court of Justice.

However, EU countries with looser tax regimes than the rest of the 27 could organise themselves to try to create a minority large enough to prevent a qualified majority from approving the application of Article 116, diplomatic sources told the British newspaper.

Since the approval of the European coronavirus Recovery Fund, Brussels has focused on curbing tax evasion and avoidance practices in the EU by multinationals and large estates, as a way to increase tax collection in the countries most affected by these practices at a time when most of the 27 are facing the worst recession in their history.

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A critical vulnerability in Instagram gives access to the mobile of users of the social network

Cybersecurity firm Check Point has performed an audit of the Instagram code. The reason: check the level of protection of the social network on which are uploaded more than 100 million photos a day, as the company explains.

What was the result of the study? "We have found a critical vulnerability that can be used to remotely access the victim's phone," says Gal Elbaz, a researcher at Check Point.

The company explains that many developers, from all types of corporations, partially use third-party open source software. And that is precisely what Elbaz has put to the test.

Instagram's Facebook-owned hole was in the image decoder on which the app is based. And that vulnerability was exploited by attackers to enter the mobile phones of users of the social network, their cameras, location, files, contacts, etc.

To get there, first, hackers send a photo to the recipient, via WhatsApp, email or any other application. That file is stored on your smartphone, either because it is downloaded automatically or manually.

Then, once the user opens Instagram, the attacker gets remote access to the device.

Check Point has published this Thursday all the details of the audit carried out to the popular platform, after having transferred the problem to Facebook and that the tech giant has patched the hole.

The cybersecurity company regrets in the conclusions of its audit that this failure may constitute the "weakest point of the entire Instagram system".

In addition, they warn that it is not the only software that uses third-party open source, as it is used on many websites. "The case of Instagram is just the tip of the iceberg," warns Check Point.

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