Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Government Privacy The Internet

France Proposes Consideration of Tax On Data Taken Out of EU 103

Posted by timothy
from the arrogance-of-power dept.
An anonymous reader writes "France has proposed the European Union study taxing companies for transferring personal data outside of the bloc ... The proposal is part of a series France has made ahead of an EU summit next month ... Both transfers of data inside companies, such as sending information on employees from a European subsidiary to a non-EU parent, and between companies are affected. Transfer of personal data often happens when companies outsource certain tasks such as customer sales and help lines to offshore call centres."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

France Proposes Consideration of Tax On Data Taken Out of EU

Comments Filter:
  • You insesitive French clods: LEAVE DATA ALONE! [youtube.com]
    • Same boneheads who came up with the idea of banning excerpts of news articles in search results...
  • Enforcement (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hypotensive (2836435) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @10:06AM (#44934415)
    To enforce this you would need to inspect the contents of encrypted communications. On the same scale as the NSA inspects communications metadata.
    • Re:Enforcement (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @10:12AM (#44934569)

      To enforce this you would need to inspect the contents of encrypted communications.

      Not necessarily. Instead, you could offer financial incentives for disgruntled employees to rat on the companies they work for.

      • Have you been reading up on the BSA lately?

        • The important thing is that the government of France, a deeply indebted country with 11% unemployment, is focused like a laser beam on giving businesses yet another reason not to locate in their country.

          • i think its more targeted at the global companies like Google, Amazon etc who do their level best to avoid paying local taxes and don;t necessarily have a large physical presence on the ground. I'm sure Google et al would not to exit any country of france's size.
          • by Anonymous Coward

            focused like a laser beam on giving businesses yet another reason not to locate in their country.

            Whereas the US is so welcoming to immigrants? The French unemployment rate was actually considerably higher in the 90s. We do things very differently here, but the French economy is quite strong, and quality of life here is great.

    • Or, it'll be like most laws, and enforcement will be on discovery of violation, and depend on the human element.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      it's actually pretty easy to enforce this for firms that do customer service etc.. if the dude that answers the phone is in malaysia then the data he reads has been exported. sure you can try to hide that too but you're bound to screw it up somehow(and it becomes hard to explain how come your phones are being answered despite you not having personnel inside france to do it.).

      it's only hard to know where exactly the data is in storage.

    • This is why for a very long time it was illegal to encrypt anything in france. Just another reason they were so slow to pick up the internet.
    • by Dunbal (464142) *
      Metadata. Yeah, keep telling yourself it's just metadata.
    • "To enforce this you would need to inspect the contents of encrypted communications. On the same scale as the NSA inspects communications metadata."

      Government Surveillance For Sale is even more ominous than Big Brother.

  • Logical (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Since users are the product, import/export taxes should apply...

  • Brilliant (Score:4, Funny)

    by holophrastic (221104) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @10:11AM (#44934533)

    I like it. Yes enforcement would be tough, but that's a totally separate thing. This supports privacy but it does much more than that. It supports actually being able to make laws. It's less about "transfer" and more about transfering outside of the legal jurisdiction.

    More importantly, it attributes real value to personal data. That makes sense today, since it's sold as a currency already.

    • So when you work in America and you manage employees in the UK, you now can't know any personal details on them without paying tax? How do you manage their salary? Their vacation time? How do they request parental leave? Now what - this is all hands off, with some kind of delegate relationship? How do you run your business this way.

      Do you know how common this kind of setup is in any multi-national corporation? Reporting chains are not restricted to single countries.

      This kind of thinking is very isolationist

      • by biodata (1981610)
        You seem to have some kind of quaint idea that multi-national corporations are a good thing for everyone concerned, and that elected politicians are there for the benefit of making things easy for the corporations. Perhaps single-country corporations would be better for the people of most countries. I guess we might find out if this tax has legs.
        • by stenvar (2789879)

          Perhaps single-country corporations would be better for the people of most countries.

          Yeah, because those kinds of nationalism and trade barriers worked so well for 19th and 20th century Europe, right?

          I guess we might find out if this tax has legs.

          A lot of stupid, self-destructive things have legs in European politics; just look at the past few centuries of history.

          • by biodata (1981610)
            Probably the British Empire was the first global corporation, and that predates the 19th Century considerably, and you are right it worked out very badly for a lot of people all over the world. The modern corporations do not exist for the benefit of the people of Europe any more than the British Empire existed for the benefit of the people of Africa or anywhere else. I am not a nationalist, far from it, but we don't currently have a democratically elected world government which can legislate in any way over
            • unelected boards of corporations

              Technically, having an elected board is a characteristic of most types of corporations. Generally the board is elected by a 'one share = one vote" election, although there are other arrangements, such as one class of shares having more votes - common in family-run corporations. In some countries (Germany for one), the unions and the local governments even have representatives on the board.

              In recent decades there has been an unfortunate dearth of investors (largely institutions and funds these days) not ac

            • by stenvar (2789879)

              Probably the British Empire was the first global corporation, and that predates the 19th Century considerably, and you are right it worked out very badly for a lot of people all over the world

              The British empire wasn't a "global corporation", it was a belligerent and oppressive nation.

              I am not a nationalist, far from it, but we don't currently have a democratically elected world government which can legislate in any way over the activities of multinational corporations

              Bullshit. Multinational corporations hav

          • by Dunbal (464142) *
            It's been a long time since a "real" war. No or very few politicians alive actually remember one. Growing populations, greed and corruption are putting more pressure on resources; population on the demand side, corruption and greed on the waste side, so even if we have more, we actually have "less". Everyone is pissing around their individual post and marking their territory - Russia, Japan, China, US. The world is basically divided into 2 camps: US/Euro and some allies, vs Russia/China and some allies. Eve
            • by stenvar (2789879)

              Throw in another economic crisis and I see the powder-keg going off. Easily. So your analogy to 19th/20th century is correct. "It's that time again".

              It's only "that time again" if Europeans fall back into their protectionist and nationalist ways. Free trade and free movement of goods and people are the best antidotes.

              (And your understanding of global "camps" and "alliances" is ridiculous.)

      • They are currently set up for their own profit. One of the only reasons that they go "multi-national" in the first place is to dodge tax laws.

        But to your question specifically, you can easily have the heads of each country manage vacation schedules.

        I don't think you realize that "outsourcing" means exporting a country's wealth. France is a particularly good example here, because it's very socialist in an amazingly family-friendly manner -- way beyond what you probably think is possible. Forget healthcare,

      • by GNious (953874)

        If you're in the US handling HR and Legal aspects for employees, there is a 99% chance you're messing up anyways*

        *: Based on my experience

      • by Sique (173459) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @10:45AM (#44935221) Homepage
        You got the idea. It's a disincentive for companies to have them manage personal data outside of the jurisdiction of people the data is about (which makes it nearly impossible or at least very expensive and cumbersome for said people to go to court about that data). Yes, you can still do it, but it comes at a price. And the company has to consider if it's worth it.
      • You could always have a subsidiary in the country managing the employees there, with the subsidiary reporting back overall numbers without any specifics on individuals. If you're already a multinational company, is there really a major need to know the details on individual employees anyway? Overall stats like the number of people on a particular insurance plan, in a specific position with the company, or making a certain amount of money should be enough for most decisions.

        Yes, there would be some additiona

        • some additional overhead from doubling up on personnel management

          You have now convinced me that this will be welcomed by companies as this means that existing managers will be able to hire additional MBAs. This is also why it will suck for any regular employees.

        • by simonreid (811410)

          is there really a major need to know the details on individual employees anyway?

          Yes or course there is. Lets say I have a customer in the US who has a colleague in the UK that also wants to buy my product, how can I put him in touch with someone in our London office without knowing their phone number? What if I want to grow my business in China and want to look at who the top sales guys are all over the world? Those examples are trivial but there are thousands more.

          Yes, there would be some additional overhead from doubling up on personnel management rather than centralizing it all in one location, but it would just be an additional cost for doing business in that country, and one that I wouldn't mind seeing them pay (and I'm even an American, but I don't wish this surveillance state stuff on anyone else, so kudos to them for trying to discourage the export of their citizen's personal data).

          That sounds lovely until you realize that the EU classes everything as personal information. Its a mess as it is havin

      • by houghi (78078)

        Do you seriously believe that people in the HR department in the US have ANY idea how to manage the salary of those in Europe? If anything, this would be an advantage to handle local budgets locally.

        Do you think they are interested in how much a 36 year old female receptionist in Belgium who works in a 9/10th system with every Wednesday morning of and has taken 3 days payed holiday and 1 afternoon in sickness gets in meal vouchers? (Yes, that is a real life example) . Or how much she gets payed back after s

    • by stenvar (2789879)

      This supports privacy but it does much more than that.

      No, it invades privacy, and does so massively. Right now, if you want your data in the EU to be safe from the prying eyes of European governments, you can store it outside the country and they are going to have a tough time getting at it. This would make it costly for EU citizens to store their data outside the country, and in addition give EU governments free reign accessing all personal data leaving the country in the guise of "protecting" it.

      • audits aren't actually revealing. you're talking about one of the most confidential processes in the world. You're also talking about a part of the world with some of the best privacy laws. You don't store your data outside of the EU to protect it. You store it inside. Most other places are much worse.

        But again, audits are divulging.

        • by stenvar (2789879)

          audits aren't actually revealing

          And you know this... how? Who controls that? Who verifies that?

          you're talking about one of the most confidential processes in the world

          I.e.., you have no idea what they are doing.

          You're also talking about a part of the world with some of the best privacy laws

          No, I'm talking about a part of the world where governments record intimate details of their citizens' lives as part of routine government activities, and can intrude into their private data with impunity, and where they

          • Patents, audits, communication carriers, and many other very finely invasive procedures are subject to incredibly strict laws.

            Most things aren't. Those things are. Read your local laws. Discover that what is protected is actually very well protected. Those are the things that you want to use.

            When it comes to corporate audits, that information is not only not publicized, it's not even internalized in any real capacity. Doing so is directly illegal, and can cause major economic turmoil on a national scal

            • by stenvar (2789879)

              No one opens your mail. In my country, there's only one office permitted to open someone's mail.

              Your country almost certainly has numerous exceptions to privacy laws for state security; almost all European nations do. Governments in places like Germany, France, and the UK have always been tapping phone lines and monitoring electronic communications widely.

      • by Sique (173459)
        That's simply wrong. To tax the data, no one needs to know the actual data, it's sufficient to know how much it is. The postal service also doesn't know what's in a letter to put a price on delivery.
        • by stenvar (2789879)

          That's simply wrong. To tax the data, no one needs to know the actual data, it's sufficient to know how much it is.

          Non-personal data isn't taxable. So, in order to verify that data that is declared as non-personal actually is, the French government needs to be able to look at it.

          Besides, these details aren't going to matter much anyway; the organization responsible for "data protection" and "data taxation" will simply get these powers.

          • by Sique (173459)
            No, it doesn't. It is sufficient to look how the data is used. If the call center knows your contract details when you call it, then the call center knows personal data. If the call center is in a non-EU state, this data was exported and is taxable. If it doesn't appear on the tax declaration, then the company contracting the call center is liable for tax evasion.
            • by stenvar (2789879)

              You're both naive and wrong.

              You're naive because European data protection agencies already have wide-ranging powers to access private data, and they wouldn't settle for anything less in this case.

              You're wrong because just because some cases of exports of taxable data could be detected by other means doesn't mean all can; governments generally have complete power to audit anything related to taxes, so they would have that in this case as well.

              • by Sique (173459)
                I am not naive, but I guess here we have two conflicting interests: One is the finance side, which wants to collect as much money as seamlessly as possible, and then there is the law inforcement side, which likes to go on fishing expeditions. The finance side wants the companies to either report as many as possible data exports or alternatively process data at home creating taxable jobs. For this, it doesn't want to make moving data a hassle to anyone, while law enforcement prefers as much as possible insig
                • by stenvar (2789879)

                  Data protection is not "law enforcement"; it's usually handled via separate data protection agencies, which often have powers to access private data that go far beyond law enforcement, of course all in the name of "protecting" people's privacy. If the "ministry of truth" is the propaganda ministry, the "data protection agency" is ...

                  If the goal is to keep data at home and create jobs, how do you do that? By making it as much hassle as possible to move data out of the country; politicians know that which is

    • More importantly, it attributes real value to personal data. That makes sense today, since it's sold as a currency already.

      These laws are about protecting domestic jobs not about protecting your personal privacy. Its an attempt to keep the processing of information in the EU. The problem is it is applicable only to personal data, businesses already work around this by anonymizing data. Names, addresses, social security numbers / national ID numbers and other personally identifiable information (PII) are replaced with codes only the domestic organization knows. Thus the data transferred outside the EU has no PII. When the proces

      • That's an enforcement detail that easily changed in the future. Come on.

        • by perpenso (1613749)

          That's an enforcement detail that easily changed in the future. Come on.

          Changing the definition of personally identifiable information (PII) is not a small detail. Doing so would have massive consequences on domestic data processing as well. Businesses would undertake a massive effort to "educate and inform" politicians should they think about doing so.

          • Think more. It's easier than creating this law in the first place. It's also an enforcement issue more than a principle issue. And this law isn't set yet. Wait until next month.

            Stop arguing the argument. Women do that. Try arguing the actual point being made. This isn't a debate club. If you want the value of a debate, elect a president who's as useless as the one before him. If you want to actually make a difference from one year to the next, argue the problem and its solution.

            • by ultranova (717540)

              This isn't a debate club.

              Of course Slashdot is a debate club. It's whole function is to give a subject in the form of a story and then let people comment the story and other comments while it keeps a record.

    • Data exported from the EU already has to maintain certain data protection standards: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Safe_Harbor_Privacy_Principles [wikipedia.org] though one suspects the law may not be well enforced. All this does is add a tax on top, which is, relatively, a detail
      • You're funny. You're complaining that they don't spend a lot of money enforcing it, and then you're calling the acquisition of funds a detail.

        This will be the very money that makes enforcing it worth while!

  • Data protection in the EU already involves government agencies with enormous powers to intrude into private data. Enforcement of this "tax" means, in particular, that French government officials will have to have access to all communications of corporations. The primary goal is not to protect people's privacy, it's obviously to spy on foreign companies and to invade their privacy.

    What's going on is that EU citizens have little privacy within the EU; European governments can get at any data on servers withi

    • That and it's a jobs bill. Hard to consolidate your data centers out of country if that's illegal. Need in-country monkeys to run those boxes!
      • That and it's a jobs bill. Hard to consolidate your data centers out of country if that's illegal. Need in-country monkeys to run those boxes!

        Who said that transferring data should or would be illegal. EU citizen have to pay tax on sales, is ever sales illegal?

    • by Hentes (2461350)

      I guess it boils down to whether you want to have the EU or the US to spy on you. Personally, I prefer the one I have a vote in.

      • by stenvar (2789879)

        Personally, I prefer countries to spy on me who can't do anything to me personally, i.e., the countries where I don't vote.

        • by Hentes (2461350)

          The countries that spy on you will give your data to the others through data sharing agreements.

          • by stenvar (2789879)

            Your point being what exactly? "I don't want my country to spy on me." obviously includes "I don't want my country to obtain espionage data on me from third parties." That's a legal issue in my country.

            You seem to think that it's just fine if the EU spies on you because you're an EU citizen. I consider that extremely foolish.

            I don't care whether other countries spy on me. Europe, Russia, China, knock yourself out (you already do anyway).

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If legal data transfers are taxed, only illegal data transfers... won't be taxed.

    OK, it needs some work.

  • TFA says:

    > [Companies pay their taxes] inEuropean countries which have lower corporate tax rates, such as Ireland whereGoogle has its European headquarters. ... so let's make our taxes higher and more complex.
    They put their headquarters in Ireland so they can pay their taxes in Ireland because Ireland has low taxes.
    If you want them to locate (and pay taxes) in your country, you should ... have high taxes?!?!

    • YES. And then have a corrupt taxation authority, like in the Netherlands, that you can make "special deals" with. This guarantees that you will not suffer from competition by pesky small companies.
  • Do you think they could get an exception on this tax?
  • Note it is coucjed as sticking it to foreign companies, and helping the local French people, when it is actually another attempt to force the French to shoulder even more unnecessary financial burdens and make them more anti-competitive.

    Basically: We politicians pretend this kicks the rich in the balls when they will just shift the burden onto you.

  • by jeff13 (255285)

    Well, yea but, how can we make this Obama's fault?

  • Just what we need. Incentivise the government to sell our data.

    "We're short on tax revenue. I know, let's sell some data to the NSA"

  • All billings end up in Israel of all places (wtf?)

  • We are the NSA.

    Our chief weapons are Fear, Theft, and Stealing.

    We repeat the last two just because we can.

    Now go home you silly EU kniggits!

  • I think the real intent is to force Google to pay taxes in the EU.

    Does the definition of "taking data out" include web crawling? That's all it would take.

    When I see this sort of thing my cynical sensor goes to eleven. If the situation was reversed, and Google was in France, how would the French react to a similar data tax in the US? They would bitch so loudly that you could hear it standing on the Atlantic coast of Florida.

  • French is already a seondary language in decline. Bye, bye.

"More software projects have gone awry for lack of calendar time than for all other causes combined." -- Fred Brooks, Jr., _The Mythical Man Month_

Working...