Govt Turns Big Brother, Will Mine Facebook Posts To Scrutinise Tax Returns


The digital trail you leave of the trips you take and the phones you buy will soon be tracked by the Income Tax Department, who wants to use data mining, big data, and analytics to scrutinise potential tax evaders.

I-T department’s Project Insight, which will be launched in the financial year 2017-18, will dig into your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other personal social media accounts to scan, profile, and then rank you, depending on the level of income mismatch between your tax filing and the money spent (as found from your social media postings).

One Income Tax department official said, “If you flaunt that you have gone on an expensive trip to a foreign location on Facebook and other social media, we will gather that information to match it with your income declared.”

Project Insight was announced by the Finance Ministery last year and had even floated a tender worth over Rs 150 crore to buy data analytics software and the infrastructure that goes along with it. However, at the time, there were no talks about mining personal social media accounts to profile individuals. It is also unclear if Facebook and other social networking platforms are part of this tellingly privacy intruding program.

Reportedly, the Rs 1,000-crore project has already begun and the IT department plans to launch it soon.


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