Bust Them, Switzerland

And throw away the key. Those no good criminals. Those German tax collectors who have been trading in stolen Swiss goods.

Switzerland has issued arrest warrants for industrial espionage for three German tax collectors who bought (with German government approval) the bank details of German tax evaders in Switzerland.

“For Germany, the issue is one of tax fraud, leading the country to authorize three tax inspectors to buy leaked stolen data on tax evaders in 2010. This legally dubious approach wasn’t an issue domestically because of the common belief that the state was collecting its alleged due and it effects only ‘the rich.’ But in reality, because Switzerland has different laws, the officials acquired stolen property to use as evidence, and paid the thieves €2.5 million for it. Anyone who dismisses this as a trifle needs legal tutoring.”

“Just imagine how Germany would react were the Chinese government to buy automobile designs from German car company employees to speed up industrial development — with the argument that patent laws are too strong in the West.”

Privacy?

Ever see Father Knows Best? Well over here it’s the state that always knows best, especially when it comes to dealing in stolen goods.

If Big Bruder wants to buy stolen secret Swiss bank account data on 1,500 alleged tax evaders from an informant, that’s OK here (Germans have always had a Herz für Informanten – a warm spot in their hearts for informers), but with Google, let’s say, by virtue of its very success here in Germany – having reached a substantially larger market share here over its rival search engines than it has elsewhere – this very success places it under immediate suspicion. Informants aren’t even necessary. Privacy is automatically in danger.

And then Big Bruder’s lawmakers, regulators and consumer advocates will invariably come in to “fix it” (fix what isn’t broken), all in the name of privacy of course.

With Google, nobody’s dealing in stolen goods – or are they? No, that’s eBay. But in both cases, whether it’s about Swiss bank accounts or Google’s success, one always has to play it safe here. It’s always guilty until proven innocent. Father knows best.

Google’s border-straddling scale and its brash ambitions raise alarms with some European politicians.

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