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French court authorises the keeping of a social media plan for the fiscal crackdown

FILE PHOTO: a Silhouette of a mobile device, the user is given in addition to a projection screen, the object code can be seen in this photo illustration, March 28, 2018. REUTERS/dado Ruvic

PARIS (Reuters) – the French government is pursuing a plan to trawl social media to track down tax avoidance, the Constitutional Court ruled on Friday, however, it has limitations on what information may be collected, following a privacy outcry.

The new rules, which are part of a wider law on the tax changes approved by the lower house of parliament last week, adding to the state’s surveillance powers, due to the collection of masses of the public domain, as part of a three-year, online monitoring of the experiment.

The customs and the tax authorities will be allowed to rate people’s profiles, send messages and photos on social media for evidence of undeclared earnings or inconsistencies.

The move has led to concerns of the French data protection authority, stakeholders, and members of the national assembly, but, the consequences for the privacy of the people.

The Constitutional Court, which would have stopped the provision of of the tracks, said the bill would endanger the users of social media, privacy, and freedom of speech and expression, such as, but gave up the go-ahead later.

The authorities should ensure that password-protected content on social media platforms, is off-limits, ” he said in his statement.

The court also stated that the government would only be able to make use of the publicly available information relating to the person to uncover on-line, and that regulators should closely follow how the data are to be used.

The Minister of the budget, by Gerald Darmanin, recently played down the significance of the movement, and the protests, the authorities in great Britain and the United States, have the same powers.

Reporting by Sarah White and Sophie Louet; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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