France looks to tax data mining

Google and Facebook know that you “likes” wine, are shopping for a Volkswagen and often e-mail Jane Doe. The new idea would require the companies to pay a tax for gathering that information. While business plans built on mining consumers’ personal information from the Internet are proliferating, so are concerns about the use of the data. Last week, the data protection authorities of the 27 European Union countries threatened Google with punitive action over a privacy policy that the company put in effect last year, under which it harvests data from a range of services. The agencies, led by C.N.I.L., gave Google four months to make changes or face legal action. Google insists its policy complies with European Union law. 81 percent of Internet users in France would use a “do not track” feature on Web sites if it were readily available.Internet companies are not alone in collecting vast amounts of data.

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