Years ago Shelley Powers wrote about getting a phone call from the IRS asking questions about her taxes based on what they’d read on her blog. Now, as noted by Digme, the Norwegian tax authorities are implementing a system that will automatically search the internet and “unstructured information” (as opposed to formal databases) to find assets that have not been reported to the tax authorities. It’s not really an issue of “Is Google Evil?”, is it – it’s simply surveillance. Which is fine, sort of, in a way, if you didn’t do anything bad and as long as the government is trustworthy and all the other governments are too and we’re not at war or in a fascist regime. Unfortunately most countries tend to be in one of those situations at least once in a lifetime, don’t they?

2 thoughts on “they’ll find your assets

  1. Mark Bernstein

    This is, I think, pretty much the way things have always been.

    In the Middle Ages, people noticed what you wore in the marketplace. If you dressed too well, people knew you had money. If you didn’t dress well enough, people knew you were a churl. If your house had lots of windows, you paid high taxes; if you could live without light, your tax bill was lower.

    Google moves the site of oversight from the street to cyberspace, but it’s much the same thing: your public acts create a public record.

  2. Jill

    Yeah, I guess so. Making it searchable and archived definitely makes a difference – but but I guess that already happened, eh?

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