The French government is taking an effort to get tech companies to get on board for publicly committing to principles which include paying their fair share of taxes. However, according to reports quoting government sources, United States based tech giants Amazon and Apple have not yet signed up to the pledge.
Over the last three years, an effort has been made by the French President Emmanuel Macron to try and convince tech giants to work with governments to tackle a number of global challenges including tackling hate speech on online platforms, ensuring user privacy and making more contributions to government coffers in the form of taxes.
During the novel coronavirus pandemic this year, there has been a public outcry over the rising fortunes of the technology groups. According to report on Monday, a request to tech companies was made by Macron to sign up to the new initiative called “Tech for Good Call” which essentially highlights principles for the post-Covid-19 world.
So far, a list of 75 executives of tech companies that had signed up to the initiative was released by the French government which included Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft President Brad Smith.
The notable absentees from the list are Apple and Amazon.
No comment was available from Apple.
Reports however quoted French officials pointing to on-going talks with the group and said that the two companies could still sign up to the pledge. The details of the initiative would be published on Tuesday.
“The goal is also to… observe objectively those who decide to play ball and align their interest with individuals and societies and those who stay out of this joint movement,” a presidential adviser told a press briefing.
The so-called “Tech for Good” summit that was hosted by the French president at the Elysee Palace in 2018 was attended by most of the leading tech executives such as Facebook’s Zuckerberg. That summit was the source of creation of the working groups on issues and those that have truned out to be a source of tension between governments and “Big Tech”.
While there is no legal binding on the signatories to the new initiative, it would be used as a tool to influence upcoming negotiations at global platforms over big tech regulation by macron, French officials reportedly said according to the reports.
The issue of taxing Big Tech during talks at the OECD have caused tensions between the United States and a number of European governments.
Those companies signing up to the “Tech for Good Call” essentially also commit to “contribute fairly to the taxes in countries where (they) operate”; prevent the dissemination of “child sexual abuse material, terrorist or extreme violence online contents”; and “support the ecological transition”, among other things.
(Adapted from Investing.com)