For about the outlay for a decent laptop, you can get a piece of kit that will automatically find planets, constellations, galaxies and other interstellar ports of call

A list of items that I consider the perfect combination of being both useful and fun to use

Amazon warehouse: Luxembourg’s 3 per cent VAT for ebooks has caused vendors such as Amazon and iTunes to base operations in the country, enabling them to undercut competitors selling goods from within other member states. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

New EU legislation governing tax on internet sales will come into effect on January 1st

Many aspects of the dormant piece of surveillance legislation  Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald quietly signed into law two weeks ago are alarming.  Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Recent provision for in-camera courts on wiretapping may violate European law

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald: signed statutory instrument into law, which took effect on Monday, on November 26th. Photograph: Daragh McSweeney/Provision

Companies that object to order could be brought before private ‘in camera’ court

Don Tapscott: “ I think there is a crisis of legitimacy about democratic institutions.” Photograph: Ana Grillo

Landmark author argues that digital disruption undermines the traditional approach to social supports

There had long been rumours of a Government Communications Headquarters-run surveillance network called Echelon, that was tapping into phone and now, internet traffic

Britain has notoriously lax legislation around data protection and surveillance

A US court order to Microsoft to produce emails held in the company’s big European Data Centre in Ireland has profound implications

Emails in a cloud claimed to hover over Ireland have triggered a legal wrangle with many implications

The part of Obama’s plan of greatest interest to Silicon Valley is the overhaul of the H1B work visa programme and the potential for an entrepreneur’s visa. Photograph: Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg

The new order in the US opens up various possibilities for business owners

Study commissioned by Microsoft as it prepares to challenge US order for handover of Irish-held data

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