Should Data Collection Be Taxed?

A proposal in France would tax the gathering of online personal data

5 April 2013

A report commissioned by French President François Hollande concluded that the country should tax companies that collect personal data over the Internet. This information, gathered by companies like Facebook and Google, would include the types of products people like and buy and what they search for online.

France’s finance ministry has yet to take a position on the proposal. But Edouard Geffray, secretary general of the French data protection agency CNIL, which is independent of the government, likes the idea of imposing a tax. In an article in the French edition of the online magazine Slate, he wrote: “Personal data are the fuel of the digital economy. Given that, it would seem like a natural idea to envision taxing their use.”

Should companies be taxed when they collect your personal data? Why or why not?

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