MEPs have proposed tax and customs services to massively seek data from the French to detect fraud.
Luxury car on Instagram? Holidays at the End of the World Told on Facebook? This data could soon be massively aspiring for tax authorities and customs to detect fraudsters, for example by comparing reported income with lifestyle displayed on social networks. On Wednesday, November 13, lawmakers passed Article 57 of the 2020 Finance Act, which allows tax and customs services to collect data from French social media and online trading platforms massively to detect fraud by computer programs. .
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Le Bon Moin and eBay are examples of platforms whose content publicly posted by users can be collected and reviewed by the authorities.
MEPs have given the go-ahead despite the strong opinion of the National Commission for Information and Freedoms (CNIL), which in September condemned the very imposed nature of this text in the privacy of Internet users. Constable Personal Data then recalled that the fact that the data was freely available on the Internet did not entitle the State to use it as it deems appropriate. And especially to continue "Previous General Collection", and not just direct supervision in the case of 'Doubt' or 'Suspicions'.
A few weeks later, on November 6, the National Assembly Finance Committee narrowly restricted the device, limiting, for example, the fraud it could detect: undeclared activities, the underground economy and crimes against corruption. tax evasion. It also limited the storage of sensitive data (such as sexual orientation or political orientation) to five days and prohibited the use of subcontractors to extract such data. The commission's rapporteur-general, Eloel Giraud, also reiterated on Wednesday that it is an experimental device, which lasts three years.
But that was not enough to defuse the concerns of lawmakers who opposed the article. "Establish a global and generalized oversight"complained about MP LR Veronik Luwagi. "We can adopt a technique of this kind for targeted groups that are suspected of fraud. But there is no limit »she said, complaining about the lack of information on the amount of data to be collected.
Philip Latombe (Modem), meanwhile, condemned the ambiguity of which platforms to consider: those with, for example, religious or union data, "Will they be excluded or not? We don't know that! " Lawmaker Emmanuel Menard, who was not registered – but supported by the CN during her 2017 campaign – pointed to the risks of freedom of expression. "This collection will only generate spontaneous self-censorship" French on social networks.
The rapporteur, on the contrary, defended that he found it "Good balance between the fight against fraud and respect for privacy". The Minister of Action and Public Accounts, Ralerald Darmanin, reminded that tax auditors are already entitled to use what they have found, "Manual", on social networks. "We suggest using algorithms, artificial intelligence to apply them. "
"The car of the gendarmes must go as fast as the car of thieves. (…) If we have millions of data, the administration cannot process them manually and be the only one that does not use new technologies to achieve its goals, especially against tax evasion. You can't (…) put thousands of officials to peel this data. "
Logic "The Magician's Apprentice"according to Eric Cockerel, France's rebel deputy. "I don't understand that we can make such a threat to freedom and at the same time remove the officials who would be very helpful." in the fight against tax fraud.
Now adopted, following changes in the margin during an open-door examination, Article 57 must pass through the Senate and then through the Constitutional Council framework. At risk: as our colleagues find out Next informationThe State Council considered, in its opinion to the Government, that Article 57 had nothing to do with the law on finance because it could take the form of a decree and, moreover, no "They don't care about the resources or the costs of the state". A fact that could lead to censorship if the Constitutional Council were to decide on this.