Dec 28, 2019

French authorities can now comb social media to find tax cheats

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios Visuals

French authorities have three years to test a new law allowing them to comb social media posts and find evidence of tax fraud or evasion, Bloomberg Tax reports.

Catch up quick: All personal data mined under the law must be public by the user and not password protected, per Bloomberg, and authorities cannot look for evidence that taxpayers have been warned for not filing a tax return.

What they're saying: CNIL, France's data watchdog, said in September that the new law "must be accompanied by strong guarantees in order to preserve the rights and freedoms of the persons concerned."

  • CNIL also said that collecting social media data could “significantly change individuals’ behavior online, where they might not feel able to express themselves freely on the platforms in question," per the Guardian.

Of note: In New York, life insurers can use social media posts to set premium rates — if insurers can prove that having that information won't lead to discriminatory practices, per the Wall Street Journal.

Go deeper

Big banks saved billions thanks to the Trump tax cuts

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Tax Cut and Jobs Act helped power the biggest U.S. banks to record profits for the second straight year.

Why it matters: The tax cut was sold as a way to revitalize hiring and spending by American companies to boost the economy and help struggling workers, but the windfall is largely staying with banks and their shareholders.

Go deeperArrowJan 17, 2020

Vox Media launches new privacy-focused ad-targeting platform

Vox Media chief revenue officer Ryan Pauley. Photo: James Bareham/Vox Media

Vox Media announced Monday the launch of Forte, a new ad-targeting data platform designed to help advertisers reach Vox's monthly audience of 125 million consumers efficiently — without using shady data practices to target them.

Why it matters: It's Vox Media's first big commercial announcement since it merged with New York Media last year, and it comes amid regulatory changes and an industry reckoning around data privacy in advertising.

Go deeperArrowDec 30, 2019

Tech's biggest upcoming battles in 2020

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The most consequential stories for tech in 2020 pit the industry's corporate colossi against the U.S. government, foreign nations, and the human needs of their own customers.

Why it matters: Today's tech giants own and operate the informational hubs that increasingly shape our public and private lives. That's putting their products and policies under greater scrutiny than ever before.