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Government Privacy United States Your Rights Online Politics

NZ Govt May Gut Privacy Laws For US Citizens and Ex-Pats 134

Posted by timothy
from the oh-you-didn't-buy-the-premium-package? dept.
Master Moose writes with an excerpt from stuff.co.nz indicating that New Zealand's government "wants to override privacy laws to supply the U.S. Government with private details about Americans living in New Zealand. As part of a global tax-dodging crackdown, the U.S. is forcing banks and other financial institutions to hand over the private financial details of U.S. 'persons' and companies based overseas. From July this year, Kiwi banks and insurers will be required to provide U.S. tax authorities with American customers' contact details, bank account numbers and transaction history. The move comes amid continuing criticism of New Zealand's participation in Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement talks, aimed at securing a wider-reaching free trade deal with the U.S. and other countries. Critics say the secretive talks could restrict New Zealand's ability to make its own laws on everything from the environment to employment."
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NZ Govt May Gut Privacy Laws For US Citizens and Ex-Pats

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  • by SirGarlon (845873) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @09:39AM (#46149449)

    If you want to renounce the obligations of citizenship, you must also renounce the benefits of citizenship and officially naturalize as a citizen of another country. Seems fair to me.

  • by gnasher719 (869701) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @09:55AM (#46149565)

    If you want to renounce the obligations of citizenship, you must also renounce the benefits of citizenship and officially naturalize as a citizen of another country. Seems fair to me.

    Most countries distinguish clearly between being a citizen and a resident. And usually the only thing you can't do as a non-citizen resident is voting or standing in general elections, or sometimes things like joining the army or police force. Everything else, there should be little difference.

    It seems that the USA has this weird interpretation that US citizens should have all the legal obligations that US residents should have, even if they are not US residents anymore, including obligations that US residents that are not citizens.

  • Re:US Acts of War (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @10:04AM (#46149671)

    Nah, it's called a treaty, and if you don't like the people in your government who signed it then you should vote them out of office in favor of someone who will nullify that treaty.

    Alternatively you could revolt. That seems to be working well in the middle east.

  • Precedent (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gmuslera (3436) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @10:22AM (#46149861) Homepage Journal

    New Zealand is playing the role of US puppy, as proved the Kim Dotcom house raid [torrentfreak.com], breaking their own laws [techdirt.com] in the process as anyway the priority was coming from outside.

    You won't fix US attitude from outside, and if you really want to run, don't do it to one of its own colonies.

  • Re:OK (Score:5, Insightful)

    by New Breeze (31019) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @10:50AM (#46150195) Homepage

    They do. That the US is spreading their net wider and wider is troubling. How much longer before the more middle of the road ex-pat countries get roped into this. Say Mexico, Belize or Costa Rica? Right now our retirees are welcomed down there, but I wonder if that will be the case if this happens.

    Basically it's becoming more and more evident that US citizens are being viewed as property by the government. And they want a piece of everything that property makes, no matter where it is.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @11:06AM (#46150359)

    If you want to renounce the obligations of citizenship, you must also renounce the benefits of citizenship and officially naturalize as a citizen of another country. Seems fair to me.

    Taxation is not an obligation of citizenship, it's an obligation of the consumption of government services. If you don't live in a country, you don't need the services of its government - you don't drive on its roads, you're not protected by its police, fire departments, etc. Civilized countries tax based on residency or source of income, not citizenship, and seem to have no trouble providing their citizens with embassies, consular services, and passports. Why not US?

    The United States stands alongside the the shining example of Eritrea [hodgen.com], (and even friggin' Eritrea only wants 2% [theglobeandmail.com]) by taxing its citizens regardless of where they live.

    Suppose every nation taxed based on citizenship instead of residency. Every bank on the planet would be responsible for vetting the citizenship of every customer, and keeping up with the taxation data reporting requirements of 190 sovereign nations. It doesn't scale, it costs more to enforce than it collects, and it invokes a huge negative externality by placing the burden of compliance on banks (with costs passed through to all of their clients) that may not even have international branches.

    Civilized nations tax based on residency, not citizenship.

  • by realityimpaired (1668397) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @12:56PM (#46151669)

    That might be the way they sell it on that side of the pond, but the fact of the matter is that US citizens living abroad are still required to file, and (generally, if they live in a low-tax country) pay, US taxes. If I in Switzerland earn an income based entirely within the borders of Switzerland, the US still wants a cut, and the law is designed to catch such foreign residents in addition to US residents.

    And if you're in Switzerland, earning an income in Switzerland, maintaining residence in Switzerland, and paying taxes in Switzerland, on what grounds do the Americans have *any* right to lay claim to your income? Taxes are meant to pay for a government infrastructure and services, and if you're living in Switzerland, you're not actually using any of those services -- at least, none of the ones that aren't paid for with user fees. They have user fees for passport/diplomatic services, which are the only actual government services I could see such a person taking advantage of....

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