Urge Passage of Proposed Privacy Tax in France

Target: President Francois Hollande

Goal: Pass tax that would punish companies that profit off consumers’ private data

The concept of a privacy tax has been proposed by Nicolas Colin, a French tax inspector. The privacy tax Colin proposes functions as a mechanism that would punish companies that profit off consumers’ private data. His proposal would radically change how tax is calculated for software companies by taxing data directly. Sign the petition to ask the French government to support this innovative idea to protect consumer privacy.

Companies like Facebook offer free social networking services by utilizing the private data of users. Users trade information in exchange for the service, allowing the company to profit off the data. Colin suggests that companies are exploiting consumers by not paying any taxes on the free information and free data they receive. Not only are consumers used as the product but consumers also provide the infrastructure these companies need to profit from. There is frustration in France because large companies like Google generated $2 billion in advertising profit but paid no tax. What Colin proposes is, “Companies ‘create value’ when they turn consumers’ information into a product that can be sold. Taxing data really means taxing creation of this new value.”

The tax would serve the public interest by taxing non-compliant data collection. This would result in more data protection, user empowerment, less pollution and more innovation. Sign the petition to petition to ask the French government to pass the proposed privacy tax.


Dear President Hollande,

I am writing as a concerned consumer to ask you to support passage of the privacy tax proposed by Nicolas Colin. The tax would function very similarly to a carbon tax that deters polluters. Companies that misuse or fail to protect consumer data would pay a punitive tax whose size depends on the severity of the violation. It would also create incentives for firms that exceed regulations to protect consumer information.

Google generates $2 billion worth of advertising revenue in France yet pays no taxes on it. Google is able to acquire consumer information for free and use user data to generate profit. While some have argued that such a tax would require an international agreement, it is possible for France to impose the tax unilaterally. Facebook would never be willing to sacrifice 20 million accounts nor would Google be willing to lose the French market. France could lead the way in protecting consumer privacy.

I hope you consider my thoughts.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: via Jon Bennallick blog

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