October 20, 2021

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Majority of voters want tax on Big Tech for personal data collection

A majority of U.S. voters favor a tax on the profits that Big Tech companies generate from the collection of personal user data in order to reduce the incentive to collect this type of data unfairly, according to a poll released Monday.

The findings are particularly relevant because of the introduction of legislation in New York state that would provide New Yorkers “compensation for the free labor they provide to big tech companies,” said a press release for the bill, referring to companies such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google.

In total, 63% of voters support such a new tax, including 72% of Democrats and 56% of Republicans, according to a new poll by Data for Progress, a liberal polling firm.

The poll of 1,186 likely voters was conducted nationally in late July using web panel respondents, with a margin of error of ±3 percentage points.

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The polling lends support to New York’s Data Economy Labor Compensation and Accountability Act, which would place a 2% sales tax on user data that would generate hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenue for New York that would then be used for spending on digital literacy and workforce redevelopment.

“Every day, tech companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google capitalize on the unpaid labor of billions of people to create their products and services through targeted advertising, advanced artificial intelligence, and research studies, among others,” a press release for the New York bill stated.

Many of the tech giants have also come under fire for their controversial data gathering and data usage practices that often invade users’ privacy.

“We must take a communal approach to compensate us for the data that we create and the work that we do for these companies, and then put that compensation towards greater use for all of us in the form of workforce development, digital literacy, education, and much more,” New York state Sen. Andrew Gounardes said in a statement.

Similar tax proposals have been discussed in states such as Washington and Oregon in the past few years, suggesting that Big Tech companies may have to battle a national movement.

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The New York Legislature comes back into session in January, and the bill sponsors are pushing to pass it then.

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Tags: News, Policy, Big Tech, New York, Data, Privacy

Original Author: Nihal Krishan

Original Location: Majority of voters want tax on Big Tech for personal data collection

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