A loyal reader suggested yesterday, given HMRC's use of Google's apps and offshore data centres, that people have a look at the Google for Work Security and Compliance Whitepaper.
I have had a wee looksey, and a few things spring to my mind:
1 I note that "if customers delete their data, we commit to deleting it from our systems within 180 days". That means "deleted" tax data may sit within Google's servers for up to 180 days after "deletion".
2 Whilst Google claims not to scan data for placing adverts, "Google indexes customer data to provide beneficial services". To my simple mind, that sounds a bit like scanning data to me.
3 Regarding confidentiality, it seems that Google staff can see HMRC data; "only a small group of Google employees have access to customer data."
4 Tax data appears to be open to access via government requests (with or without HMRC's, or indeed HMG's, permission), "Google may receive direct requests from governments and courts around the world about how a person has used the company’s services".
5 Google may also engage third party suppliers.
It doesn't seem so confidential to me. However, these are just my thoughts, please feel free to add your own.
Tax does have to be taxing.
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