French government gets go ahead to trawl social media for tax cheats

Authorities can now check profiles and photos for evidence of possible offences

Zoe Tidman
Saturday 28 December 2019 19:58
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The powers will be reviewed at the end of the three-year experiment, the court says
The powers will be reviewed at the end of the three-year experiment, the court says

France has been given the green light by the constitutional court to use social media to clamp down on tax avoidance.

Customs and tax officials will be able to collect and monitor information that has been shared publicly on certain platforms as they try to detect possible offences.

Gerald Darmanin, the budget minister, celebrated the news on Twitter, saying: “The constitutional court has just ruled that this experiment conforms to the constitution.

“One more tool to fight fraud!”

The court said there were concerns over how the drafted powers could threaten users’ privacy and freedom of expression.

The ruling imposed some conditions for the plans, which would give tax authorities powers to check social media profiles and pictures, to go ahead.

Authorities would have to ensure password-protected content on social media platforms was off limits, the ruling said.

The court said that authorities would only be able to use public information pertaining to the person divulging it online.

They also required that regulators would have to closely monitor how the data was being exploited.

The new powers to trawl social media for fraud should be reviewed at the end of the three-year experiment, the court said.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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