Online VAT worry

Concerns are being raised about privacy and civil liberty issues in advance of value added tax (VAT) being applied to online shopping come Wednesday, May 1.

Barbadian Alan Emtage, who conceived and implemented Archie, the world’s first Internet search engine, said as every online transaction will have to be scrutinised to see whether they are taxable, people’s privacy can be violated.

“There are many things that people like to keep private that have nothing to do with doing ‘something wrong’, or at least certainly not illegal. Medical records, child or other support payments, court records, or even something as non earth-shattering as planning a surprise party are among the many such things that are routinely subject to all kinds of privacy concerns and requirements. These are things that you may not want your spouse or family, your employer or church group or government to know,” said Emtage.

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