Will “drones” join satellites to unmask French tax fraud?


The success of a new satellite campaign to flush out French homeowners evading tax obligations by not declaring property improvements will determine whether a so far strong ban on the use of low-level drones to throw a shot. eye on the affairs of private citizens is added to this mix of spy tools. This is a potentially explosive possibility in a country where the priority of protecting one’s privacy is exceeded only by the evasion of tax authorities.

This month marked the opening of the operation innovative land (roughly, “innovating real estate”), a push by a range of French tax and tax administrations to identify and put pressure on people who have not declared taxable real estate improvements. These can include swimming pools, house extensions, garages or – for those rich enough – tennis courts and helipads. This being France, even modest-sized garden sheds and DIY verandas are subject to severe taxation.

This being France, however, many are not – remaining discreetly unreported instead.

In response, officials have taken to the skies to use current and past satellite imagery powered by artificial intelligence software to identify recent builds and beacon improvements that have not been duly reported. The campaign is launched in nine of the 94 French continents departments, after a previous test in one of them, revealed 3,000 swimming pools under the carpet in just a few weeks.

This degree of curiosity – and the implicit distrust motivating it – will probably be enough to arm a significant part of French society soon (word of the effort is only just beginning to circulate). That din is expected to get louder – and take a hint of sarcastic counter-accusation – with the detail that French authorities have partnered in the push with the Google cloud unit. The company has long been a primary target in France’s accusations and lawsuits against the GAFA tax scam.

What does France hate the most: tax evaders or drones invading privacy?

But wait for the lid to really explode if authorities take the next step in circumventing strictly enforced laws prohibiting drones equipped with cameras from flying over private property or people – the very act of which is considered a gross violation of privacy. individuals. And using the contraption to peek behind owners’ fences and hedges for evidence of stealthy improvements to the property (and any other kind of hidden private activity that might be visible) would do just that. – its laudable objective of making everyone pay their fair share, representing an insult. to the injury of the French spirit.

In fact, the laws in force impose maximum penalties on any person carrying out this type of theft, up to one year in prison, and a fine of $ 52,000 for “invasion of personal privacy”. Pilots seen by police flying drones around parks, beaches or outdoor events (in areas where drone flights are permitted, which often takes a long time to search) are regularly interviewed to find out. ‘they got the required approval from anyone below going into the camera frame (and told to hike the ground if not).

Even the word “drone” has long been avoided because it is too English in official texts, which before adapting to time tended to refer to aircrafts. The machine had to enter French society in a cautious and often roundabout way.

There is therefore a good chance that even when the operation innovative land Expands its aerial gaze across France, it will take much longer – and will have to overcome deafening protests – before drones join the effort to root out property tax evaders. In the meantime, the French tax authorities may remain jealous of their peers in Switzerland, Spain, Argentina and elsewhere, who regularly deploy the contraption on homes in the fanciest neighborhoods they can find, and freely record any evidence. failure of owners taking advantage of the improvement. to pay their due.

Subscribe to DroneDJ on YouTube for exclusive videos

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.