Carlucci follows in California’s footsteps with “data dividend” idea

Senator David Carlucci at Rockland Community College commencement.
Senator David Carlucci at Rockland Community College commencement.
STUDIO ELEVEN/Rockland Community College Flickr
Senator David Carlucci speaks at Rockland Community College commencement.

Carlucci follows in California’s footsteps with “data dividend” idea

New bill would tax companies that use New Yorker's personal data.
December 3, 2019

If you’ve ever shopped online – only to see the products you browsed appear in a Facebook or Instagram feed later – you’ve likely helped those platforms make a buck or two. The sale of personal data is old news by now, but few states or localities have decided on what approach – if any – is needed to address the fact that technology companies are profiting off of personal data. Some think that people ought to be compensated for their data, while others say the idea is easier in theory than in execution.

State Sen. David Carlucci has proposed a legislative solution. The Rockland and Westchester County representative – who is running to replace retiring Congresswoman Nita Lowey – introduced a bill creating a “data dividend” to address the personal data conundrum. The idea follows a similar idea in California, which is backed by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Under Carlucci’s bill, the state would levy a 5% tax on gross income on every company that derives income from the personal data New Yorkers share with those companies – like Google and Facebook. From that revenue, the state would then issue a data dividend check to all taxpayers on a yearly basis. 

The bill, introduced in May, has yet to amass co-sponsors and doesn’t have a companion bill in the Assembly. And while tax-averse Republicans are likely to balk at the idea, Carlucci said consumer ownership of their personal data is a priority. “Today’s economy is quickly changing, and we need our laws to keep up with the technology of the 21st century,” Carlucci said in an emailed statement. “Big tech companies are going unregulated and using your online footprint to market to you and get richer. It’s time internet users have more ownership over their personal data and be able to share in the wealth.”

For the rest of today's tech news, head over to First Read Tech.

Annie McDonough
Annie McDonough
is a tech and policy reporter at City & State.
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