Wowsers writes: In an effort to get ever more taxes for doing absolutely nothing, the United Nations are to consider a European proposal to tax the internet based on data that gets sent. The proposal is designed to get money from large bandwidth users like Google, Facebook, Apple, and Netflix. Smaller companies that have high bandwidth would be forced off the internet due to the taxes.
The proposed measure is also claimed to be an effective tool for censorship as companies will just block access to countries to limit the amount of taxes they pay for data.
Wowsers writes: In vogue with other countries cracking down on freedom and democracy on the internet as discussed in Slashdot recently, the UK is joining in with plans to track all phone calls, text messages, email traffic and websites visited online, all to be stored in vast databases under new Government anti-terror plans. As reported in The Telegraph.
Security services will have access to information about who has been communicating with each other on social networking sites such as Facebook, direct messages between subscribers on Twitter would also be stored, as well as communications between players in online video games.
The scheme is a revised version of a plan drawn up by the ex-Labour government which would have created a central database of all the information. The idea later dropped in favour of requiring communications providers to store the details at the taxpayers’ expense.
Wowsers writes: The American film and music cartel have won a landmark case in the UK, forcing an internet provider to block access to Newzbin2 that the media cartel say are infringing copyright, in an effort to protect the media cartel's failed business model.
The court case sets a worrying precedent as the ruling could mean that media companies tell internet providers to block access to any website, without a court order or any due process. The future looks more worrying as more companies use this ruling to silence critics of their companies., and politicians silence opposition parties.
Wowsers writes: Whilst everyone thought that the UK's Digital Economy Bill currently passing though the government machine was going to have the contentious "block websites" clause removed, the government has re-introduced the clause at the last minute, in the hope that it will pass into law before the UK general election is called. With the three main political parties not having anyone with an IT degree between them, it looks certain to pass into law. The blocking of websites clause has been changed, but not by much. A government minister will now have to have a shame public consultation before blocking a website under pretext of copyright "piracy", however, it's no stretch of the imagination that the legislation will allow ANY website to be blocked, in particular of political opponents, or opponents of government policies. Who said the UK was free and democratic!
Wowsers writes: An article in The Times states that UK consumers will be hit with an estimated of £500m ($800m US) bill to tackle online "piracy". The dinosaur record and film industries have managed to convince the government to bypass all laws, and get consumers to pay for the record and film industries perceived losses. Meanwhile the record and film industries have refused to move with the times, and change their business models. Other businesses have adapted and been successful in changing their businesses, but the film and record industries refuse to do so, taking the easy way out of protecting their cartels.
Surely the record and film industries should be the ones paying to chase up their perceived losses, not adding another stealth tax to all consumers.
Wowsers writes: Whilst the public sector spending in the UK continues to run out of control with monthly record breaking deficits, there are no funding worries for state surveillance of the masses. An article in the Daily Mail, states that £380 a minute (about $630US) will be spent on surveillance in a massive expansion of the Big Brother state.
The £200million-a-year sum ( $331million US) will give officials access to details of every internet click made by every citizen — on top of the email and telephone records already available. It is a 1,700 per cent increase on the cost of the current surveillance regime.
State bodies including councils are already making one request every minute to spy on the phone records and email accounts of members of the public. The number of snooping missions carried out by police, town halls and other government departments has rocketed by 44 per cent in two years to a rate of 1,381 new cases every day.
Ministers say the five-year cost of the existing regime is £55.61million ($93m US), an average of £11million ($18m US) a year. This is paid to phone companies and service providers to meet the cost of keeping and providing private information about customers. The cost of the new system emerged in a series of Parliamentary answers.