Tax: the CNIL issues “reservations” on the collection of data on social networks, Bercy tries to reassure

Tax: the CNIL issues “reservations” on the collection of data on social networks, Bercy tries to reassure

This provision is provided for in the 2020 finance bill to combat tax fraud. TheCnilis particularly concerned that the collection will be exhaustive.

Illustrative photo.  (LP / MATTHIEU DE MARTIGNAC / MAXPPP)

The Ministry of Public Accounts assured Tuesday, October 1 that it counted “Provide all the guarantees” of respect for private life, after the publication of a reserved notice of the National Commission for Informatics and Freedoms on its project to collect data on social networks to detect tax fraud. In this opinion delivered on September 12, the CNIL expresses in particular its concerns about “Very particular issues from the point of view of freedoms”. “It is about collecting data freely accessible and made public by Internet users, with the aim of detecting serious infringements”, explains Tuesday on franceinfo Émilie Seruga-Cau, head of the department of sovereign affairs and local authorities of the Cnil. “This is an unprecedented device that reflects a change of scale in data collection, she continues. The idea is to collect all the data, with a view to targeting subsequent control actions when there is doubt about the fraudulent nature of a transaction. ”

“We collect everything on principle”, worries the Cnil

This experiment announced last November by lhe Minister of Action and Public Accounts Gérald Darmanin and provided for in the finance bill for 2020, must allow customs and tax investigators to surf on social networks (such as Twitter, Facebook or even Leboncoin) to target the big fraudsters, according to Bercy, those who for example claim to be domiciled abroad to escape income tax but actually live in France for more than six months in the year, public photos in support. Another example provided by Bercy, a person at RSA who sells dozens of computers per week on an online shopping site may suggest illegal activity.

But the CNIL particularly fears that the collection will be exhaustive. “It is no longer a case of targeted treatment based on pre-existing doubt. We collect everything on principle ”, worries Emilie Seruga-Cau. “This is what prompts the CNIL to be cautious and to express reservations”, in particular with regard to “The proportionality of the collection“, She specifies. The CNIL also raises the question of freedom of expression, if the data we publish can be used against us.

Bercy promises safeguards

Bercy minimizes the scope of this article 57 of its finance bill and promises to have put in place safeguards. An algorithm first makes it possible to target the big fraudster and only a limited number of authorized investigators have access to the data collected. The Ministry of Public Accounts adds that the data will be destroyed within 30 days if it is not used to identify “Serious breaches” or within one year “If they have not given rise to the opening of any fiscal, customs or criminal proceedings”.

Finally, recalls Bercy, this is only an experiment over three years. An effective tool in the fight against tax fraud which has given results in the United Kingdom for example. The CNIL, for its part, asks for guarantees and a rigorous evaluation. The debate in parliament around this article 57 promises to be interesting.