The taxman has 55 BILLION items of our data from social media spying. What about data protection?

HMRC: it’s using artificial intelligence to gather information about you. But is it gathering too much?

This does not seem right:

The taxman has been using its own data system for years to snoop on taxpayers.

HMRC holds billions of our data items, including email and bank records, as part of its system used to target taxpayers for investigations.

It has revealed that there are now 55 billion items of data relating to taxpayers in its ‘Connect’ system, which was launched to tackle the growing tax gap, according to tax investigation insurance experts PfP.

The tax gap is the difference between the tax that should be paid and the amount HMRC actually collects and last year the figure stood at £32billion.

The article goes on to say that Connect has been in use since 2010 and its database has now grown to 6,100 gigabytes of taxpayer data.

The implication is that none of the information about any of us has been discarded – and it seems to me that this is in breach of the Data Protection Act.

The fifth data protection principle states that information should not be kept longer than is required for the purpose for which it was collected.

No specific time limit is given but HM Revenue & Customs’ own guidelines suggest that six years is the reasonable limit.

That means, by its own measure, HMRC may have retained seven years’ worth of information illegally.

Source: Taxman is snooping on emails and social media – and now holds 55 BILLION items of our data on its AI system in a bid to tackle tax evasion

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2 thoughts on “The taxman has 55 BILLION items of our data from social media spying. What about data protection?

  1. Stu

    The Investigatory Powers Act 2016 (Snoopers Charter) is the root of this.
    Remember, Mp’s voted for themselves to be exempt from being investigated.
    Most Government Departments and others can pry almost on upon a whim under the guise of Fraud or National Security (Just like the Stazi used to).
    I know for a fact that the even before this act, the CPS in Birmingham would perform criminal checks on the boyfriends of friends and relatives as a favour (I was checked).

    Question is “Who do you report it to and who will actually do something about it?”.

  2. 6033624

    I worked for HMRC for many years and this is simply a slight extension of what already existed. If someone in HMRC needs to know something then, if it’s on record anywhere, they likely have access to it. Most of this is publicly available and that which isn’t is given to govt departments in pursuance of their aims and is exempt from various acts eg HRA as being in the ‘national interest’ The collection of taxes is something which is obviously in the national interest.

    They are somewhat behind the level of information sharing/selling that private companies are. The difference is the TYPE of information held. This is, at least, ‘Sensitive’ and can’t be released outwith the department and only used where there is an actual reason to do so.

    I appreciate this DOES sound sinister but it isn’t. The problem with HMRC is that successive governments, of all colours, have concentrated their efforts ‘lower down’ in the scale and tend to ignore larger evasions from PLCs etc. It’s a rigged system and it’s rigged by the government to favour their donors..

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