Senators raise concerns over iPhone-maker’s $12 billion US chip factory

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Apple A14 processor
Senators want to be sure a Taiwanese semiconductor plant being built in Arizona won‘t be a security risk. The factory could someday make Apple processors.
CGI: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

A trio of Democratic Senators raised questions on Tuesday about what incentives the Trump administration offered Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co to build a new processor fabrication plant in the U.S. This factory could be used to produce chips for future iPhones.

The lawmakers want to be sure that TSMC isn’t getting unfair advantages over American chip makers. And that the plant won’t allow U.S. trade secrets to leak to China.

Apple Watches at Trump impeachment turn senators into scofflaws

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Series 3 6 months on
An Apple Watch is almost as capable as an iPhone (and neither is allowed in the Senate chamber this week).
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Some U.S. senators apparently just can’t be without their Apple gear, even when they aren’t supposed to have it. Lawmakers have been noticed wearing Apple Watches during the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, a violation of the agreed-upon rules.

US Senator proposes new law aimed at limiting Apple data flow to China

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Tim Cook meeting with China's vice premier.
Photo: Tim Cook

One of tech’s biggest opponents in Washington D.C. proposed a new bill this week that could have huge implications on Apple and TikTok’s business operations if put into law.

GOP senator Josh Hawley from Missouri introduced legislation today that would prevent the Chinese company that owns TikTok from collecting information on American users and sharing it with the Communist Party of China. The bill would also stop American companies like Apple from storing user data in China.

Apple wants US to overhaul privacy laws

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Apple takes privacy seriously
Any future privacy legislation will likely have little effect on Apple as it already bends over backward to avoid collecting user information.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

A high-level Apple executive will tell the the U.S. senate tomorrow that the iPhone maker is in favor of federal privacy regulations.

He’ll be testifying along with representatives of Google and other companies likely to argue against privacy laws.

Congressional ‘Crypto Commission’ may tackle Apple vs FBI debate

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Apple's fighting the FBI for the right to privacy.
Photo: Apple

Apple CEO Tim Cook has said that he wishes the company’s current battle with the FBI will be resolved by Congress, rather than in a courtroom, and it appears that he just may get his wish.

Lawmakers in both the House of Representatives and the Senate plan to propose a new commission be created that will specialize on finding the balance between citizens’ right to privacy, while also combating terrorism and other issues of national security.

Senate wiretapping debate comes to an end

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wiretapping debate
The U.S. Senate is hashing out the USA Freedom Act, which concerns government wiretapping.
Screencap: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac

The U.S. Senate has taken one step closer to a final vote on changing the government’s controversial program to freely tap and monitor citizens’ phones.

Senators voted 83-14 to end debate on the “Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet-collection and Online Monitoring” (USA Freedom) Act. The bill will extend lapsed provisions of the anti-terrorism Patriot Act and aims to add transparency to the NSA’s activities surrounding wiretapping and data collection.

A final vote could happen as early as this afternoon.

U.S. eyes tax breaks to lure Apple’s billions back home

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Cash-Money

Apple has a massive pile of cash sitting overseas and the U.S. Senate is now weighing options on how to entice Cupertino to bring all $138 billion of it back to American soil.

Senate Democrats and Republicans are reportedly in discussions about passing legislation that would give American companies like Apple and Google a one-time tax break if they repatriate profits stashed overseas.

Irish Committee Chooses Not To Grill Apple & Google About Tax

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An Irish parliamentary committee has dismissed the opportunity to grill Apple and Google over their tax affairs in Ireland, despite requests for a change to the way in which it taxes large multinationals that do business in its country.

The move comes weeks after Apple and Google came under scrutiny for the way in which they use tax “loopholes” or “gimmicks” to avoid paying excessive taxes on international sales. It was revealed that Apple used an Irish subsidiary with zero employees to pay less than 0.05% tax on $78 billion over four years.

Woz: Apple’s Tax Practices Really Aren’t Fair

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steve-wozniak

Apple has received a lot of heat from the U.S. Senate lately regarding its international tax practices and off-shore cash, and you can now add Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak to the list of Apple tax dissenters.

Woz said that he doesn’t think Apple’s tax practices are really fair, and suggested that Apple, and other large firms, be taxed on their income.

In an interview with the BBC, Woz had the following to say regarding Apple’s tax practices:

Apple TV Vs. Xbox One And Tim Cook Goes To Washington On Our All-New CultCast

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This week on The CultCast: Apple Chief Tim Cook brings his Southern charm to Washington, hints at an iHologram; we break down the Apple tax debacle and say why their overseas billions are too legit to quit; and Xbox One vs. Apple TV, should Apple be worried?

All that and more on this week’s CultCast. Stream or download new and past episodes on your Mac or iDevice by subscribing now on iTunes, or hit play below and let the good times roll.

Show notes up next.

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