Data, Tax, Artificial intelligence


Artificial intelligence, the technology that is currently shaping our world, relies on the data that each individual supplies. In 2017, the Economist magazine asserted that “the world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data.” This assertion is supported by the current data market, which became a hundred-billion-dollar industry in the data broker market alone. However, despite its immense value, individuals are not compensated when their data is collected, shared, or when that data is used to replace them in the job market. Further, companies are legally avoiding taxes on this resource, both during its collection and on the profits it creates.

Prior to the widespread use of AI, society expected their private information to be respected. Before the internet boom, companies were willing to pay the public for their information. When information was supplied, people expected some form of payment in return. Now, payment is unnecessary because our phones automatically give companies all of the data they need to know, and then some. Companies have become more reliant on our information and are constantly collecting it at higher rates, but no longer pay us because they no longer need our consent.

Currently, no legal regime provides solutions or safeguards for this exploitation. This allows companies to accumulate and share mass amounts of personal information, while financially harming individuals in the process. Recognizing the importance of the legislature to combat the resulting harms of emerging innovation, this Note proposes a unique solution which addresses both the exploitation of our data and corporate tax avoidance: a tax on the data itself