Klobuchar: Maybe we should tax companies that sell our data

The MN senator floated the idea during an interview at SXSW.
Author:
Publish date:

What's one way a presidential hopeful can generate headlines at South by Southwest (SXSW), the giant media festival that happens every year in Austin, Texas?

Propose something that could have a huge, game-changing impact on the tech and social media industry.

That's exactly what Sen. Amy Klobuchar did this weekend during an interview at SXSW.

Speaking to Kara Swisher of tech news website Recode, Klobuchar said it may be time to tax Facebook, Amazon, Google and other companies that make money selling personal data.

As the Houston Chronicle notes, Klobuchar told Swisher that some of the biggest corporate innovators "have taken advantage of consumers" who use their products.

"We're their commodity and we're not getting anything out of it,” the Democrat said in the interview, according to the paper. "Maybe there's a way we can actually tax them when they use us."

According to The Verge, Klobuchar was clear that she was not proposing a detailed policy, and that she doesn't want to "inhibit innovation," adding that any data taxation might just apply to “larger platforms, not startups.”

But as the website points out, actually implementing such policy "would be complicated," as it would require  "determining what counts as taxable consumer data, what kind of data sharing should incur a tax," and other considerations. 

The SXSW also had a lighter side, and turned toward recent rumors about Klobuchar's behind-the-scenes behavior.

According to Courthouse News Service, Klobuchar addressed the now-infamous "comb" incident reported by the New York Times: “I used a comb to eat a salad very briefly on a plane in a MacGyver move."

This comes a few days after she joked about the incident at the annual Gridiron Club Dinner in Washington, D.C. 

Next Up

Related