It’s fall again and with the lower temperatures I tend to take longer showers. Those of you that visit my site frequently know what that means, more time for me to think about solving world problems. My first shower of the season and I think I’ve really found a gem this time. It’s a given that whoever gets in the White House will be looking for new sources of revenue and data gathering taxes could be a game changer.
None of us are happy about Microsoft’s insistence on tracking everything we do. I think a large amount of the resistance to Windows 10 was based on a desire to thwart Microsoft’s surveillance plans. It’s obvious to every one of us that they’re using the data, not to improve our lives, but to improve their bottom line.
I don’t mean to single out Microsoft. Have you ever read Apple’s EULA? They’re just as bad. They claim the right to track everything you do, even if it’s personally identifiable. Google made an empire out of analyzing our search queries and analyzing the free email they gave us. In fact, it’s a safe bet that 99.95% of the free apps you get for your tablet and phone will call home to report on you. At least Microsoft gives me the impression that they care by letting me say no to some of the tracking.
Nor is this trend limited to software providers, our government is also trying to get into the act. Their Prism program has been trying to monitor all our communications for years. Not that they use all that data for anything. Our current situation shows you just how little they think of our ideas.
Personally I don’t like my habits being tracked in order to serve me better. I tried that with the Windows 8 beta and they still released a piece of junk. Despite what they say, I know they (Microsoft, Apple, Google, NSA, Facebook …) don’t have my best interests at heart.
Today I had an idea worthy of the Thought Simulation Chamber (TSC, also known as my shower), data gathering taxes. Right now all that data is free but suppose they had to start tracking and paying for it. It won’t stop them but the IRS will certainly force them to be much more transparent in the data they gather and how they do it. Even better, make the system tiered. The closer it comes to being personally identifiable, the higher the taxes. This will force audits by the IRS and might make a company consider just how much data they need to gather.
Yep, a lot of the “free” apps will disappear rather than pay data gathering taxes. Then again, if they only serve us ads, they won’t get taxed. No, this won’t cut down on the data gathering. We’ve gone too far down the road to put that horse back in the barn but at least you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing these companies will be paying for spying on you.
Consider this, now your phone will become a source of revenue for the Government. Budget a little tight for this fiscal year? Run a campaign to have everyone turn on their GPS tracking and watch the revenue roll in. Encourage them to email their congressman on his or her Gmail account.
I know some of you will argue that this only legitimizes the data collecting. No, unfortunately it’s already legal, taxing them only forces some accountability to these people.
Want to know the best part of this idea? Ever watch Superman vs. Batman? What happens when the IRS presents the NSA a tax bill for all the data they’ve been gathering? Would it come out of their secret budget?
Let’s see. More accountability on data gathering, lower taxes for the middle class (I can dream) and more audits for the IRS to perform. I think that’s pretty good for a ten minute shower. What do you think?Opinion by pen