Drones Unleashed to Find Tax Evaders as Greece Sets Disturbing Precedent

By Nicholas West

Anyone who is looking to understand exactly what the term “mission creep” means and why privacy advocates warn of its negative impact, here is another case study.

Greece is apparently battling a “black economy” in one of its most popular tourist attractions: the island of Santorini. According to tax authorities, the area has become a hotbed of tax evasion, primarily by day trip organizers who are not properly recording their income.

As reported by Yahoo News, the country has turned to high tech to equip their coast guard with drones that can physically look for hidden transactions. However, in the search for criminal activity, it appears that all tourists must be aware that they will be subjected to constant physical surveillance by matching onboard visitor counts with income receipts.

Based on data from the drones, authorities were able to establish how many passengers were on board, then cross-referenced it with declared receipts and on-site inspections.

“We used the drones for the first time on an experimental basis to monitor how many tourists were on board,” said an official at the Independent Authority for Public Revenue.

“The results were excellent”, he added.

Nine tourist vessels checked were alleged to have not issued a number of receipts, totalling about 25,000 euros ($29,460). Their owners now face fines.

A short demo video was released by the Greek Public Revenue Authorities showing the bird’s eye view that tax collectors have of the public.

This appears to be the first location anywhere in the world that has conducted direct drone surveillance of individuals for alleged tax crimes. I was able to find one other 2016 article that mentioned drone use in Brazil for property tax calculation, but not for surveillance or collection.

This “experiment” in Greece demonstrates the ever-widening application of surveillance in even supposedly democratic countries. Given how far the U.S. already has fallen in protecting the constitutional rights of its citizens, how much longer until we see drone tax collectors take flight in America?

H/T: Keep Talking Greece

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Nicholas West writes for Activist Post. Support us at Patreon for as little as $1 per month. Support us at Patreon. Follow us on Minds, Steemit, SoMee, BitChute, Facebook and Twitter. Ready for solutions? Subscribe to our premium newsletter Counter Markets.

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