Facebook Closing Irish Subsidiary; Samsung Pre-Pre Galaxy Orders Open; FAA Drone Rules; COVID Vaccine Proof-Apple Wallet & Google Pay

Facebook is winding down its Irish holding company in light of wider disputes over the way it pays taxes in the the European Union.Businessinsider.com notes that in 2018, the social networking giant’s Irish subsidiary paid just $101 million in tax, while recording profits of more than $15 billion. The subsidiary, Facebook International Holdings I Unlimited Company, also brought in around $30 billion of revenue, accounting for more than half of the firm’s total annual turnover of $56 billion. 

This fall, Apple let users kind of pre-preorder iPhones. Now, Mashable.com reports that Samsung is doing the same for the upcoming Galaxy S21 smartphones—which don’t even have a fixed launch date yet! Samsung started offering pre-order reservations in the U.S. through its Samsung Shop app. The app lets customers reserve their phone now, and get a $60 credit they can spend toward accessories for the upcoming phone. We don’t officially know when the new Galaxy S21 phone will be launched, but rumors say it’ll happen at a virtual Samsung Unpacked event on January 14

New rules from the Federal Aviation Administration have moved us closer to drone deliveries. Both Amazon and UPS have been testing such deliveries. According to mashable.com, drones will need to broadcast their identification through a new system called Remote ID, which will help the government track both the drones and their base “control” stations, have nighttime lights, and no “exposed rotating parts”. People who manage the drones will need a drone pilot’s license with them whenever operating the aircraft.

As the COVID-19 vaccine has begun to be distributed in the United States, Los Angeles County has developed a new way to let its residents prove that they have taken the vaccine. Citizens can now add the COVID-19 vaccination proof in the Apple Wallet app and in Google Pay for Passes. Bloomberg.com says this integration was made possible thanks to a partnership between Los Angeles County and the startup Healthvana, which specializes in delivering test results to patients for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, and now, the company does the same for COVID-19 test results. Healthvana says that the company stores everything as securely as possible on Amazon Web Services servers that are in accordance with HIPAA.


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