This week the French government has released a report that proposes an internet tax to make up for the supposed lost revenue the web is making a reality with online businesses such as Amazon and social networks like Facebook. The proposed tax would not be on products sold, but on the collection of personal data, which they feel is something they're entitled to earn with. President François Hollande's report speaks of what the French government sees as tax avoidance by major internet companies who collect what France sees as the "raw material of the digital economy."
This report was published this past Friday, speaking on how the French government's view here is that people using services like Google and Facebook are more like employees than patrons. The report suggests that in collecting personal information from French citizens and in turn using that information to push precisely located advertisements, citizens are in effect working for the companies - this would require taxation by the government, of course. Sound reasonable to you thus far?
According to the New York Times, digital economy minister Fleur Pellerin spoke up to the press in Paris, saying "we want to work to ensure that Europe is not a tax haven for a certain number of Internet giants." Google also spoke up in a statement, assuring the public that they were indeed having a look and reviewing the report at hand: "the Internet offers huge opportunities for economic growth and employment in Europe, and we believe public policies should encourage that growth."
The taxes proposed have not been detailed in full at the moment, but it has been claimed by the government entities that suggested it that legislation to make this tax a law could be introduced by the end of 2013. The predecessor to the current President, miser Nicolas Sarkozy, proposed a levy on internet advertising during his term of office. This levy failed due to French companies complaining that such a measure would affect them more than it would giant companies like Google.