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France Proposes a Tax On Personal Information Collection 196

Posted by samzenpus
from the pay-to-play dept.
Dupple writes in with a story about a French proposal to tax companies that collect personal data online. "France, seeking fresh ways to raise funds and frustrated that American technology companies that dominate its digital economy are largely beyond the reach of French fiscal authorities, has proposed a new levy: an Internet tax on the collection of personal data. The idea surfaced Friday in a report commissioned by President François Hollande, which described various measures his government was taking to address what the French see as tax avoidance by Internet companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook. These companies gather vast reams of information about their users, harnessing it to tailor their services to individuals' interests or to direct customized advertising to them. So extensive is the collection of personal details, and so promising the business opportunities linked to it, that the report described data as the "raw material" of the digital economy."
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France Proposes a Tax On Personal Information Collection

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  • Hilarious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rakhar (2731433) on Monday January 21, 2013 @10:38AM (#42646691)
    While I don't believe this is in any way viable to enforce, I think it would be hilarious to sit back and watch the aftermath.
    • Re:Hilarious (Score:5, Interesting)

      by nickleaton (966500) on Monday January 21, 2013 @11:18AM (#42647091)
      There's an interesting change going on. Services, which are basically delivered electronically, can't be taxed. Similarly with lots of IP. Think about it. Who are you going to tax? The consumer, or the producer. Ah, the producer say government. There aren't many of them, so we can get them. Difficult going after the consumer, since they are the ones who vote. Ah, slight problem. We can't go after the producers, if they are overseas. After all, the places where the servers are want their tax cut. If we really went after them, the other countries would retaliate. Not only that, the producers would up sticks, and move their servers. For example, if you use AWS for your servers, you can move them in seconds. Who are you going to tax now? Not only can the server move, the company can move. They will move to lower tax, lower regulation. Same with all IP. So I see IP taxes falling to zero. Far better keeping the employment, rather than driving that offshore. So what are Facebook's assets in France. It's the payments from advertisers. Now under EU rules, there is freedom of movement of goods, services people, and capital. Tough for France, they can't get the taxes. So what's really going on. Basically western states are bankrupt. They have hidden their pensions debts off the books. France is bankrupt, and now its desperate for cash. Any cash, no matter what the damage. However the rich have hopped, over the border to Belgium and Switzerland. Bank of France reported that last month, French banks lost 44 bn EUR of deposits. So a run on France has started. In France the state has educated people they are entitled. Its a right. When that 'right' is infringed, there will be violence.
      • Services, which are basically delivered electronically, can't be taxed.? Of course services can be taxed. Take a look at your phone bill, water bill, cable bill or any other "service" you get. Oh, and what about that "sales tax" for downloading an MP3 from Amazon (in some jurisdictions).

        Technically, these companies don't make money "collecting personal information", that is actually an expense they occur. They only make money if they sell something, and that is already taxed. However, the gist of the bu
        • It's both. You can't remove the motivation from the tax. The motivation is, we're desperate for money, primarily because they've been cooking the books. Pensions debts aren't recorded. Service taxes can always be avoided. I can buy from wherever I want in the EU. I can buy an MP3 from the USA if I want. It doesn't matter where I buy, location doesn't matter for these sorts of services. Quality doesn't change. So its just down to price. Phone bill - depends on local infrastructure, either fixed line or m
          • by h4rr4r (612664)

            You can surely tax shareholders. A property tax applied on shares could do that.

            The poor can be reimbursed for their consumption taxes, if reducing impact on them is desired.

            • by mosb1000 (710161)

              The poor can be reimbursed for their consumption taxes, if reducing impact on them is desired.

              It's always better to simply not take their money in the first place.

      • Ah, slight problem. We can't go after the producers, if they are overseas. After all, the places where the servers are want their tax cut. If we really went after them, the other countries would retaliate. Not only that, the producers would up sticks, and move their servers. For example, if you use AWS for your servers, you can move them in seconds. Who are you going to tax now?

        If you impose a tax on having data (in accordance to the practice of data minimisation), what you say is only true if only France would introduce such a tax, and EU countries would not work together.

        If you host data on EU citizens, this data has to be hosted inside the EU. If you don't comply, you can't make business in the EU. And while you might not mind skipping France, the EU is a huge market, too large to ignore.

        So it would be possible to introduce such a law, even though it would have troubles (e.g. h

      • However the rich have hopped, over the border to Belgium and Switzerland. Bank of France reported that last month, French banks lost 44 bn EUR of deposits. So a run on France has started.

        It's funny how that happens when you try to introduce a 75% tax rate for the wealthy [bbc.co.uk].

        • by Hatta (162192)

          Easily solved. Institute a 99% exit tax. If you want to control the lions share of the economy, you can pay the lions share of the costs. If you try to evade, fuck you. You're lucky if confiscating everything is all that happens.

          • A 99% exit tax would be considered capital controls, and those are illegal in the EU. They're illegal exactly because in the past they were used by abusive governments to stop people leaving. Incidentally, the US charges an exit tax for people who try to give up citizenship, did you know that? And they also try to tax citizens wherever they live in the world!
          • Unless you can put that into effect and enforce it faster than the wealthy can make a couple of phone calls and get on a plane/train/boat, I'd say that's a pretty certain way to crash your economy within 24 hours.

      • Re:Hilarious (Score:4, Insightful)

        by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Monday January 21, 2013 @01:22PM (#42648455)

        In France the state has educated people they are entitled. Its a right. When that 'right' is infringed, there will be violence.

        While I find your points interesting and mostly agree with them, you have one thing backwards. In France, the people have educated the state that they are entitled to certain benefits. When those rights are infringed, there is violence. Pretty much since the storming of the Bastille, the French - and particularly the Parisians - have been very quick to protest and to riot. For some lesser known examples, look up the Parisian Communes and the term 68ards: while in the US specifically, the anti-establishment movement was built on peace and love, in Paris it was built on riots and street violence.

        The result is that the French government is probably one of the western governments that is most afraid of its population. And also a perfect example of just how easy it is for a population to get awesome toys, even without going through the proper democratic process.

    • How would this even work? One bit for every byte?

      (Use your own definition of bit – I like mine as Spanish gold – Others like them as 1s and Os.)

    • Let's tax bad service too.

      Just imagine, ISPs being billed for tax every time they fail to answer a call to tech support within a reasonable time. Or M$ being billed for their bugs.

      We would either clear the national debt, or get the service we were promised. What's not to like?

  • Their biggest problem, of course, will be how to enforce the collection of this tax. If a user signs up for Facebook (etc), does that mean Facebook has to tell the French government about it so they can be billed correctly for the tax? Doesn't that mean someone can really screw Facebook up by signing up a bunch of bogus accounts registered in France, meaning Facebook has to foot the bigger tax bill? What about French citizens signing up from other countries but marking down their country of origin as Fra

    • by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Monday January 21, 2013 @10:43AM (#42646753) Homepage

      I think a bigger question is how would you enforce such a tax on a company that has no assets in France. Does Facebook have any datacenters or offices here? If no, then .... what is France going to do? Start censoring any website that doesn't pay them? I mean, that's the fundamental thing they're complaining about, right - companies that sell into the French market and make money there don't pay corporate taxes because, hm, they don't actually run their business from there. So why would this new tax be any different?

      I'm really wondering if the current French government even cares about France being seen as a serious country. Taxes targeted at a handful of companies aren't going to resolve their budget deficit problems or even make a noticeable dent. This move strongly reminds me of their threats to nationalize ArcelorMittal if they closed a factory. The factory was closed and the threat was not carried through.

      • I'm really wondering if the current French government even cares about France being seen as a serious country.

        No need to wonder - the answer is Non!. (previous French governments were not significantly different in this respect)

      • by Jesrad (716567)

        I'm really wondering if the current French government even cares about France being seen as a serious country.

        As a french citizen, I can assure you that the last few years have definitely demonstrated that our politicians will squander every last shred of credibility France still has, as long as it can even potentially give them a single vote back.

        I mean, seriously... the very existence of Hadopi and its millions of euros worth of budget for nought ? The Florange debacle ? The Peugeot mess ? High-profile Mi

        • by GodGell (897123)

          The story you tell is all too familiar. The same thing is going on in Hungary right now. We basically have our own "Incompetent Little Hitler" running the show.

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        Facebook does business in France. It accepts payments from French companies for advertising, and from French citizens who want to pay $100 to send a message to Zukerberg. If Facebook wishes to continue to do that it needs to comply with French law, and it will do so because even if its tax burden goes up it can still make money.

    • clearly facebook has to send all personal information they collect to the government for auditing. it's the only way to make sure they are being properly taxed.
  • by Buggz (1187173) on Monday January 21, 2013 @10:40AM (#42646713)
    Google Rep: What exactly does France want?
    France: We want: more... money!
    French aide: Yeah! More money!
    Facebook rep: More money from where?
    France: Just more money! You know! France doesn't get enough money! Other countries have lots of money; we want, we want some of that money! Hu- how about- the Internet? The Internet makes lots of money! So give us some of that money!
    French aide: Yeah! Give us Internet money!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Excuse me....
      From the original article:
      "Google generates more than $30 billion a year in advertising revenue, including an estimated €1.5 billion, or $2 billion, in France. Yet, like other American Internet companies, it pays almost no taxes in France."

      They've forgotten to add "... nor in the United States."
      Google, Facebook, etc.... ( and many others, but these are the ones mentioned in the abstract), pay almost no taxes, because they are addressed in Ireland.

      What France and the rest of the European Un

      • by Buggz (1187173)
        I must admit I merely posted the first thing that came to my mind. So there was an article?
      • What France and the rest of the European Union Countries have to do is enforce a change in Ireland tax laws.

        What about the next country which then establishes the same tax laws as Ireland - it may not be in the EU? What then?

        This will turn out to be a game of whack-a-mole.

      • What France and the rest of the European Union Countries have to do is enforce a change in Ireland tax laws.

        Or they could lower their own corporation taxes to a competitive rate and live within their means.

        Just sayin'.

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        TFA misrepresents the French government's position somewhat. It isn't just about tax revenue, it is about making privacy invasion have an associated cost. They are trying to do the same thing with a small financial transaction tax. The amount levied is tiny but still enough to discourage people from high frequency trading and other douchbaggery.

        In other words it is behaviour modification, similar to taxes on tobacco or pollution.

      • They've forgotten to add "... nor in the United States."

        Reality check, according to the SEC filings Googles tax rate in the USA was 22% [sec.gov]

        The stories you read about Google "dodging tax" or paying only a few percent are looking at worldwide revenues. It's due to Americans going French all of a sudden and thinking that any money earned by any Google subsidiary anywhere in the world should be taxed by the IRS - even if that money was a Swiss Franc earned in Switzerland and then spent on Swiss salaries. Well the

        • by euroq (1818100) on Monday January 21, 2013 @08:50PM (#42652691)

          The tax rate is 22%. They actually pay close to 0%, and apparently less than 0% in some jurisdictions and points in time. This is their effective tax rate. My personal federal tax rate is over 30% but I always end up paying around 15%.

          The company reportedly uses complex tax schemes called the 'Double Irish' and 'Dutch Sandwich', which take large royalty payments from international subsidiaries and set up a shell corporation in countries with no corporate taxes, like Bermuda.

          Google isn't alone among big corporate tax evaders moving profits to tax shelters abroad. Boeing, DuPont, Capital One and General Electric paid a negative U.S. tax rate in 2010, according to Citizens for Tax Justice.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_Irish_arrangement [wikipedia.org]

          Now, I wholeheartedly agree with Google's response, "We're capitalistic and not confused about it." But you are either ignorantly ignoring reality, or maliciously distorting reality. Google is most certainly using complex schemes to avoid taxes. For example, Google is neither an Irish company nor a Bermudan company, yet that's what they're telling the IRS.

          It's due to Americans going French all of a sudden and thinking that any money earned by any Google subsidiary anywhere in the world should be taxed by the IRS - even if that money was a Swiss Franc earned in Switzerland and then spent on Swiss salaries.

          No, you are making that up in your head. Nobody's saying that. What "they" are saying is that Google makes billions of dollars in America, and pays 0% tax on that in America. Absolutely more of its income is made in America than in any other place, simply due to the size of the economy. And yet it pays close to 0% in taxes. Other businesses pay 15-35%, but not Google! And obviously other corporations do the Double Irish as I quoted, but Google is being called out above other corporations due to the Google motto, "Don't be evil".

          Just so we're clear, I don't really think this is Google's "problem", it's the system's problem. And the "French way" of thinking money earned elsewhere requires taxes in France is neither logical nor sustainable. But don't distort reality, please.

    • I know this is a South Park reference, but it made me think of the bowling alley scene in the Big Lebowski.

      France: We want ze money, Googlebowski.
      Donny: Are these the socialists, Walter?
      Walter Sobchak: No, Donny, these men are nihilists, there's nothing to be afraid of.

  • by MikeRT (947531) on Monday January 21, 2013 @10:40AM (#42646721) Homepage

    When the companies decide to not collect data on French citizens, the French government will bitch them out for drying up a revenue stream.

    • by sribe (304414)

      When the companies decide to not collect data on French citizens, the French government will bitch them out for drying up a revenue stream.

      Yep. That would no doubt be the cue for lots of articles about the "tax evasion" the companies were engaging in...

  • Book keeping nightmare. Anytime anyone tells anyone in the company their name or any details it would have to be logged.

    Also some information is required for tax record purposes. Are they going to tax things required for the tax system. Crazy system.

  • ...it seems like any such scheme would cost far, far, far, more to administer than it could realistically obtain in revenue. And that's on both the taxpayer side and the government side. Can you imagine trying to audit this?

  • Instead of being "frustrated that American technology companies that dominate its digital economy are largely beyond the reach of French fiscal authorities" try kickstarter-type projects encouraging your own folks to create France-based sites that can compete and dominate your own digital economy. If they're good enough then citizens of other countries might come to _your_ sites and you can charge whatever the heck you want.
    • by Archon-X (264195) on Monday January 21, 2013 @11:24AM (#42647157)

      Hah! Doesn't work like that in France.
      I've been here for the better part of 7 or 8 years now.

      Simply put, France stifles innovation and invention. There's heaps of smart people here, but pretty much all of them leave as quickly as possible. Here's (my understanding of) why:

      The very nature of France.
      France is a socialist country. There are so many laws weighted against employers that running business is a nightmare.

      Sick of working, and fancy a paid holiday? Stop working! As long as you continue t show up physically to work, your employer can't actually fire you (without you taking him to the cleaners in the worker's courts), so you'll be fired with benefits.
      What's fired with benefits? Up to two years getting 80% of your old salary.. Why on earth would you want to work?

      Double dip salaries
      Employers pay 100% of what they pay in salaries on social contribution taxes. If you pay someone $100k per year, you're $200k out of pocket. And then the fucker stops turning up to work, and you can't fire them.

      The 35 hour work week
      France still has a notion & law that no-one should work more than 35 hours per week. Evidently, you can't get anything done as such - even the french agree, and most work more than this limit. However, for each hour you work over the 35 hour limit - you get back in holidays or overtime. I know people that get at least 2 months holiday per year.

      Then, on top of all of this, you have the 'normal' corporate taxes, and then personal income tax.
      Until a year or so ago, you also had a Excessive wealth tax - this wasn't just for stupidly rich people - most people who had a few houses as investment or ran a company got nailed by this. Each year, in addition to all other taxes you'd pay a percentage on top of the taxes, just because you had 'too much stuff'. This never stopped (ie, you'd pay taxes on the same things over and over) until you were no longer considered 'rich'.

      The upshot of this is a massive skew in the taxation gradients. In France, it's actually smarter to earn less. If you've got a salary for 50k - you'll take home more than someone running a company that turns over millions - you are actively punished for your success.

      Naturally, with all of this, employers don't care nor dare to innovate - they simply go overseas - and no need to go far. Spain, Luxembourg, Ireland - all have better corporate tax laws.

      Where did everyone go?
      Life sucks for employees, too. Employers are so used to getting fucked, that they take as much care finding employees as possible - typically filtering by degrees. It's gotten to the stage now that you cannot get a decent career without at least a master's degree in the precise field. And 5 year's experience in the workforce. At the same time.

      When you do get your position, there's no vertical evolution: you're stuck in that position for life. The best you can hope for is slightly adjusting your position by hopping from company to company, and finding great workmates. Then, embittered by this fact, you either leave france, or you decide to go on a two year's paid holiday (see above)

      Finally - and I believe this is the biggest factor - is France's groupthink about capitalism. On whole, it's detested. Earning money is taboo in France. Running a company is seen to be incredibly bad. You're labelled 'rich', and people can't wait to see you come down.

      The government, and Holland especially, campaign hard on this sentiment, and each year promise to tax business even harder. Holland promised to raise company taxes and upper bracket earners even more.

      This makes sense to the masses, who hate the idea of rich, because they'll never get there. The guys who do have companies, who are taxed to oblivion, after years of tax rises, simply leave the country or evade tax, because they've got the means to do it - and the entire country suffers as a result - and you end up with this.

      • by euroq (1818100)

        So, just curious, why do you think France one of the richest economies in the world? 5th according to many different measurements.

        I'm serious and I'm not trolling. I hear the socialist arguments against France all the time - such as those you just listed. Why is it still doing so darn well?

    • by mjwalshe (1680392)
      you know that France has a tradition of national champions who are the most favored sons when it comes to government spending Bull still make mainframes for goodness sake

  • Forget agreeing or even having an opinion. How exactly will they enforce this?

    I this is supposed to be a collection of royalties due to tax loopholes why not fix the loopholes?

    Why doesn't Hollande spearhead a movement to fix the loopholes instead of pursue specific companies for being clever?

    If the previous system to tax corporations did not really work and their clever folk found ways to avoid paying taxes why is this new system such a better idea??

    /facepalm
    • There isn't really a loophole here.

      The reason Google doesn't pay much tax in France is that Google isn't really in France.

      I make iPhone apps. My company makes a profit. I pay corporation tax in the UK because that's where I'm based.
      I sell plenty of apps in France, but they don't get any tax from me (other than VAT which is managed by apple).

      This is actually quite interesting. The interweb has enabled a whole load more large companies to do business globally without having significant local presence.

      Governme

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        I would think a simple solution would be to move all taxes to sales taxes and reimburse the working poor for some amount monthly.

        I can't see a way to avoid that.

    • How would France enforce this you ask?

      Simple. All exchange of personal data must go through a government proxy. See how easy? Now everyone is happy.
  • Focusing on Internet companies is stupid, all multi-nationals are avoiding paying appropriate taxes, close the loopholes that they're all using don't single out a particular industry.
    • by Virtucon (127420)

      Exactly. Corporations will establish whatever corporate presence is necessary to avoid taxation. Recently I came across this. [go.com] It seems that United and American Airlines have been using an office park location as the receiving location for fuel, avoiding transit taxes that are imposed in Chicago. Presumably all of the fuel received here is used at Chicago O'Hare (ORD) airport. I doubt that the tankers will fit in the parking lot.

      While I'm not on the tax the wealthy bandwagon, I find it difficult to imag

  • If anyone can find a way to tax that, it'll be the French! They've been taxing my patience for years now!

    I kid, because I love, France...

    • They've been taxing my patience for years now!

      Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if a tax on patience would be Hollande's next Taxe du Jour. He can't raise the taxes of everyone all at once, because then everyone would be pissed off at him. So instead, he is targeting many small groups, with many different taxes.

      Everybody like a tax that somebody else pays. Tax the rich? Sure, it only hits the rich! The "Nutella Tax"? No, I am not kidding, this is also a new one. Well, that depends on if you eat Nutella or not. Another targets people who rent a

  • Slightly offtopic, but I'm wondering. According to the European data protection law, every individual has the right to get a copy of all personal data a company holds about him or her. This was in the news some time ago regarding Facebook. Any user can order a CD with all information being stored about him or her. Does this law also apply to Google? And if so, has anybody yet attempted to retrieve this information?

    • Slightly offtopic, but I'm wondering. According to the European data protection law, every individual has the right to get a copy of all personal data a company holds about him or her. This was in the news some time ago regarding Facebook. Any user can order a CD with all information being stored about him or her. Does this law also apply to Google? And if so, has anybody yet attempted to retrieve this information?

      Yup, Facebook got so innudated with requests that they couldn't keep up. Apparently you get a CD with a PDF that typically weighs in at over 1000 pages and in excess of 100mb. Many people are shocked by the amount of data Facebook has collected which I find hard to understand since FB isn't even trying very hard to hide the extent of their surveillance.

  • They can't tax data on the internet - because the internet extends beyond their jurisdiction.

  • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) on Monday January 21, 2013 @11:27AM (#42647175)
    I used to work in the US office of a French company. Our subsidiary was not well known in North America, but it was well known in Europe and some other places. I have a real love/hate relationship with the French. On one hand, there's a lot to like about the country and its culture. On the other hand, the bad stuff that makes you, as a foreigner, hate them is really bad. They are very difficult people to make meaningful friendships with. My experience is that they are really good actors and excel at pretending that you and your friendship is important to them, but in reality, not so much. Almost every American I know who moved over there to work in one of our 2 main offices in France got discouraged with the whole thing and eventually moved back pretty jaded about the experience. The French will look out for their countrymen above all others. They may not say it, but yes, they do think that everybody in the world who is not French is inferior to them. This is one of the reasons that they look to target foreign companies like this. In their heart of hearts, they just don't respect foreign companies.

    I'm not claiming to be an expert in French politics, but they've had a lot of bad choices for leadership in recent years. Le Pen scared everybody by making it to the final round of the elections and basically everybody had to vote for Sarkozy. Sarkozy seems to be fairly smart, but he's got a huge ego and he kept making the news for things that had nothing to do with politics. Sarkozy pissed off just enough voters that coupled with Francois Hollande's campaign of "Let's tax the rich so everybody can retire early!", Hollande won. Hollande seems to be a bit out of touch with modern realities and he seems to think that he can simply tax the rich and they'll willingly pay and he can restore the old welfare state that made it impossible to fire French citizens and let people retire at age 60. A good number of French citizens are probably out of touch with reality too since they voted for him. So given that Hollande has an unrealistic goal that requires raising vast amounts of money and the French don't really respect foreigners anyway, going after foreign companies seems obvious. If I remember correctly, some years ago when Ebay got in trouble in France for not blocking listings of Nazi memorabilia, the original French government argument was that Ebay couldn't allow such items to be sold anywhere in the world before they backed down to only asking them to block such in France. So it's no surprise to me at all that France thinks they can tell Google, etc. to pay up and they'll do it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dkleinsc (563838)

      They may not say it, but yes, they do think that everybody in the world who is not French is inferior to them.

      See, that's the difference between the Americans and the French: The Americans think that they're better than everyone else, and say it loudly and proudly!

      As far as dumb political choices go, the Americans elected and re-elected George W Bush. Enough said.

      • As far as dumb political choices go, the American Supreme Court elected and rigged voting machines re-elected George W Bush.

        FTFY
        • by dkleinsc (563838)

          Yes, some stuff was almost definitely rigged. It shouldn't have been so close that the rigging mattered.

          For example, if the voters in 2000 had weighed the answer to "Is this candidate an idiot?" as being more important than "Is this candidate running for the party I've supported for the last 30 years?", I'm reasonably certain the outcome would have been very different. You can see the reason why by making proper use of a Google fight [googlefight.com].

    • hey are very difficult people to make meaningful friendships with. My experience is that they are really good actors and excel at pretending that you and your friendship is important to them, but in reality, not so much.

      Conversely, coming to the US after having grown-up in France, I found that it's really easy to get to know Americans, but real friendship is very hard to come by, and very hard to identify. As an example, it took a while to understand that "come by any time you want!" means "double- and triple-check before you make any decisions involving us, because we'll probably flake on you."

  • These fuzzy-thinking idiots. The only law we should have about privacy is to create ASTRONOMICAL penalties for publishing false information about anyone.

    My grocer knows I have a weak spot for, say, pistachios, good chocolate and broccoli (separately, please.) This is fact. Their sales records illustrate it. Of course, it might be my wife who is the broccoli fiend, but they might be able to figure it out one way or the other. If there is a strong secondary market of people willing to pay for information

    • by euroq (1818100)

      That's very insightful. But what is a "privacy thing" to you, then? Are you saying there's no such thing as a right to or expectation of privacy?

  • For the last two years or so, the French have been extremely hostile, and Google has been tolerating it. But I think it's only fair to remember that Google does have its limit, and it has pulled out of countries before. China, for example, no longer has it's own Google. France is going exactly the opposite of what it needs to be doing. Rather than doing everything it can to try to get more money out of companies like Google, what it needs to be doing is incentivizing the development of local technology comp
  • This is genius, provided of course, that at least some of the revenues are funneled into the enforcement of privacy.
  • They'll tax the heat.

    Taxman

    Winning.

  • Much more effective to impose a gross receipts tax on all advertising revenue.

  • While I'm wholeheartedly against paying for information on myself, I do, however, believe that the country needs to make money somehow. In high school, when I lost my ID, I paid $20 for a new one. I lost it again and paid another $20. Every time I lose my library card, they added a dollar to the next time it would cost me. Does it bother me? No, not at all because I'm giving back into the system.

    So, when information becomes free, who gets to eat? You take money away from your country which pays for the f
  • Seems like they fell bass-ackwards into it, blind squirrel finding a nut with the wrong motive, but the answer itself is close to the theoretical ideal. Centralized silos of personal information are profitable and have a negative externality(*) [wikipedia.org]. Economic theory has an answer for that; taxation. You internalize the externality, the transactions become more efficient, and the system becomes more productive. I'm not saying they know what they're doing, but it is the textbook answer to maximizing the productivi

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