Taxing Consumer-Facing Business as a Regulatory Currency

The author contends that taxation should be a regulatory currency for the free collection, mining and sale of personal data and connected activities (knowledge discovery and data mining business (KDDM), also called consumer-facing business (CFB)) that is similar to a royalty on natural resources and independent of the urgently needed international tax system reform.Taxing the enormous profits accruing to CFB as a regulatory currency would be an example of a public utility measure contributing to regulating the stateless power of digital giants by gaining back sovereignty so that liberal states would be able to protect privacy and their democracies. Earmarked taxes raised by market states on CFB are recommended as a means to achieve this purpose.With the aim of demonstrating her thesis, the author critically examines the OECD discussions about the allocation of taxing rights in the digital economy; explains the KDDM business model underlying the use of social networks and other internet sites, its lack of transparency, and the insufficient consent models to guarantee data protection; and considers the meaning of privacy as a fundamental right and a condition to free speech, the public sphere and democracy, and the constraints that KDDM causes them.