By: David J. Herzig
Over the weekend, I came across a tweet from Edward Snowden that caught my eye. He mentioned the Scottish governments use of the UK meta data. What was surprising to me is that the data was shared not only with the policing authorities, but also, with the tax authorities.
In this article, there is a claim that “[t]he confirmation that UK state spy agency GCHQ ran a specific programmed, called “MILKWHITE”, to share data with devolved policing and tax authorities is the first Snowden leak to directly implicate Scottish authorities in the controversial policy of ‘bulk data’ collection.”
The entire article is devoted to the problematic practices of meta data collection and sharing. Further, it only mentions the tax authorities once. But what is especially intriguing to me is that the taxing authorities are part of data analysis.
I would have suspected that the taxing authorities would want to use data to verify taxpayer movement. For example, if you are avoiding US taxes because you claim a non resident status (I know it is a rolling calculation), wouldn’t it be nice for US to use your cell phone records to catch you spending 220 days a year in the US.
But I never thought they the IRS, let alone other countries, had either the desire or funds to do data harvesting. The idea that the Scottish taxing authorities are part of the data distribution protocol now gives me pause. I wonder if taxpayers now need to be worried about taxing authorities starting to use meta data?