Another week passes, and with it, another edition of Our Week in Digital, our round-up of this week’s most exciting tech and digital news stories.
In this week’s news, Deliveroo partners with a recruitment software provider, talent.io to boost its software engineer task force and Zuckerberg stands before yet another regulatory committee, this time answering questions over cryptocurrency, Libra.
This week, our Digital Marketing Executive, Rachel picks out her favourite stories from the tech and digital news pages.
Read on for more…
talent.io partners with Deliveroo.
Our first tech and digital news story this week is that it has been announced that Deliveroo will work with recruitment talent software providers, talent.io to ‘deliver’ it’s next wave of software engineer hires from across the UK and Europe.
Food delivery service Deliveroo works with over 80,000 restaurants and takeaways, and 60,000 riders around the world. The service uses its own world-leading proprietary technology, the Frank algorithm.
The food delivery giants are headquartered in London and operate in over 500 towns and cities across 13 markets. They have ambitious plans for growth, however, and are looking to expand its tech team to 600 in the next two years.
Dave Richardson, Head of Technology Recruitment at Deliveroo has an objective to build a world-class tech team in the capital. The solution that talent.io offers have enabled them to find the correct calibre of candidate to recognise this. He notes that it is a very competitive market and that formerly their internal recruitment teams have found it challenging to find the high-quality software engineers required for them to scale at the rate they needed.
He highlights the capacity of talent.io to vet each candidate as being what sets their product apart. This ensures that Deliveroo has access to the best talent in the industry and that these professionals are immediately available.
Global tax shakeup would force tech firms to pay more.
Under reformed proposals for a global shakeup of taxation rules, big tech firms would be forced to pay more tax to countries where they sell products and services.
The existing tax rules date back to the 1920s. It has been noted by the Paris-based membership organisation that they are no longer sufficient to ensure fair allocation of taxing. This is particularly applicable in an increasingly globalised world where companies can easily move overseas.
Many of these large profitable and multinational firms have significant consumer-facing activity and generate profits. The changes would force these firms, including digital companies, to pay tax where these are generated.
This shakeup will overturn the ability of large tech firms such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple et al to shift profits around the world in order to minimise their tax bills. The aim is to extract more corporate tax from large multinationals; whether these be digital or not. Other industries that may be affected could include automobile companies or luxury goods manufacturers.
The organisation is seeking agreement in principle from the G20 by the end of January. This is so that it can work up detailed rules. This will stop countries feeling the need to lower their corporate tax rates to keep business located in their jurisdictions.
The main problem it seeks to address is that multinationals could shift the profits to low-tax jurisdictions. This leaves little corporate tax revenue for economies to collect despite most of their business activity taking place in there.
In this vein, the “winners” of this proposal would be large countries. These include the US, China, UK, Germany, France, Italy for example, as well as developing economies.
These countries would see a rise in their ability to levy tax on corporate income earned from sales in their territories.
It would enable France, for example, to tax an element of the sales of Google to French advertisers.
More importantly, emerging and developing economies would gain taxing rights over these companies for the first time. Although the multinationals sell and market products widely in their jurisdictions, they often have no physical presence.
In a consultation document published on Wednesday, the OECD remarked that;
“The allocation of taxing rights can no longer be exclusively circumscribed by reference to physical presence”.
On the flip side, the “losers” would be the companies themselves, tax havens and low tax jurisdictions such as Ireland.
Widely, business and tax experts have welcomed the OECD’s proposals. In a statement, Amazon too said it welcomed the publication of the proposals as “an important step forward”.
Google extends tool for cities to measure emissions.
In some exciting environmental tech news, Google has extended its emissions and pollution tracking tool to locations across Europe. This was something that was previously only available to American cities.
The tool compiles transport and building data from Google Maps with publicly available information about emissions. It will initially be offered to 6 European locations; Birmingham, Manchester, Wolverhampton, Coventry, Dublin and Copenhagen.
Environmental issues are at the forefront of political and activist agenda across the globe. Extinction Rebellion protestors have taken over our capital’s streets over recent weeks. Just yesterday, protestors stormed London City Airport to embark on a three day long ‘Hong Kong-style’ demonstration. It was designed to “peacefully occupy and shutdown” the busy transport hub.
In line with this global concern over climate change, Google plans to add more cities on other continents in the coming weeks. Any city can nominate itself via an online form.
The Environmental Insights Explorer (EIE) offers data across 4 categories. These include building emissions, transport emissions, general emissions and solar potential.
The dashboard is designed to help cities see what changes they could make to lower emissions. This could be done through methods such as creating more bike lanes or installing solar panels on buildings. It is also working on a separate project named Air View. Google has been using its street view cars to measure air pollution as they drive through cities, including London and Copenhagen. This data will also be shared through the EIE tool.
Officials across the target cities have welcomed the development and the subsequent opportunities it offers to make influential changes to its environmental impact.
West Midlands mayor, Andy Street has declared a state of “climate emergency” across his cities of Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Coventry. They hope to be able to use the data to help them reach their goal of becoming carbon neutral no later than 2040.
Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy executive director, Amanda Eichel is also on board with the Google project. She said:
“We believe EIE can serve as a critical first step for city sustainability teams to better assess their current situation and more efficiently track and monitor their progress in meeting their climate protection goals.”
Zuckerberg to testify in the US over Libra Cryptocurrency.
It hopes to launch next year but Libra has been off to a rocky start. Regulators have warned that they will be closely monitoring its movements. Now, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has been summoned to testify about the currency he is building by a committee of US politicians.
Back in July, Maxine Waters, the chair of the House Financial Services Committee requested that Facebook immediately pause development of the digital currency and its digital wallet, Calibra. In the same month, the Committee also proposed a bill to keep “big tech” out of the financial system. This followed a meeting to discuss what the impact the initiative might have on consumers, investors and American banks.
These latest developments reveal that Zuckerberg will appear as the sole witness to face questions in a hearing. It is titled “an examination of Facebook and its impact on the financial services and housing sectors”.
A Facebook spokesperson said: “Mark looks forward to testifying before [the committee] and responding to lawmakers’ questions”.
Despite all the adversity, Facebook is continuing to pursue the launch of the currency. Members of the Libra Association are due to meet next week in Geneva to formally sign up to the group.
The Libra Association is the title attributed to the 28 organisation strong group who will run the currency. The founding members of which include Facebook themselves, Uber, PayPal, Stripe, eBay, Spotify and Vodafone. However, the group has suffered a recent blow as PayPal have recently announced they will be leaving the committee.
Facebook and the founding members of Libra also face major regulatory hurdles. They have been involved in talks with both the US Treasury and the Bank of England about how the cryptocurrency will work. There are questions over what licences it will need, such as money transmission licences, going forward. The Libra Association has vaguely said it plans to “shape a regulatory environment” for the coin, rather than necessarily working within the current one.
Britain’s banking watchdogs have also indicated that they will be keeping a close eye on the currency. The Bank of England warned on Wednesday that the currency will need to meet the highest standards and prove that it will not impact the UK’s financial system if it is to go ahead.
Unsurprisingly, there have been questions raised regarding user privacy. In response, the company is insisting it will not use any financial data for advertising purposes. The Digital Wallet, Calibra will be run as a separate company.
We hope you have enjoyed Rachel’s ‘best bits’ from this week’s tech and digital news!
We’d love to hear your thoughts on her choices or any other tech and digital news stories that may have caught your eye this week.
As ever, please leave your comments below. We’d love to read them!