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The Internet

UN Proposes Email Tax 396

El Jefe writes "No, this isn't an email hoax: The UN has proposed an email tax of roughly 1 cent per 100 emails sent by an individual to help pay for bringing the Internet to developing countries. The only good part in all this is that they have no power to enforce this, and it is "merely a suggestion". " As yuck as it seems, I think that a tax like this will do a lot to curb spammers (suddenly sending out a message to your million addresses costs a hundred bucks. Still a bargain, but it ain't free any more) and it would benefit the countries coming late to the net party. But I suspect it will meet pretty strong resistance.
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UN Proposes Email Tax

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  • For starters, it is not my belief that the UN is the sort of organization which should impose taxes. It would also be somewhat problematic for them to tax US citizens - I seem to recall something about taxation without representation in the Constitution.

    Additionally, if we assume that the going rate for bandwidth is $10/gig, the tax would amount to 100% of that.

    Would you accept an increase of 100% in toll charges on your nearest non-free limited access highway so that people in South Africa can drive on one for free? A tax of 100% on your next car, so that someone in Equador can be given one at your expense?

    The examples above may sound extreme, but are exactly what a bandwidth tax amounts to.

    Now then, I'm certainly not saying that these nations should not have help, by way of charity of other voluntary effort. It's not the dollars I'm opposed to, but the general principle. I simply do not believe that the proper way to make things happen is by taxing industrialized countries and passing the funds along to the less fortunate, from each according to ability and to each according to need.

    Sound familiar?

  • Actually I think the tax proposed was per byte not really per email. Emails are probably 1% of total Internet traffic (the rest being porn, mp3 and warez of course ;-)

    If $70E9 was the total with a tax of 1 cent per 100 x 10kbytes = 1 cent per Mbyte. Therefore the article implies a total number of Mbytes transmitted over the internet of 7E12 which is 5.6E19 bits per year or 1.7E12 bits per second, lets say about 11,000 155 Mbit links running continously.

    Doesn't sound too far out...
  • If this money actually went to the development of the systems instead of being funneled into corrupt third world governments or the administrators of this progam, it might be worth it.

    Here's a thought: The dictators that run these countries are some of the richest people in the world... Why not make those assholes pay for these types of projects...
  • The UN is examples of how email would be taxed in an attempt to justify their position to the public.

    The proposed unconstitutional tax is on bandwidth, not 'substantial email'.

    There is an urgent need to find the resources to fund the global communications revolution -- to ensure that it is truly global. One proposal is a "bit tax" -- a very small tax on the amount of data sent through the Internet. The costs for users would be negligible: sending 100 emails a day, each containing a 10-kilobyte document (a very long one), would raise a tax of just 1 cent. Yet with email booming worldwide, the total would be substantial. In Belgium in 1998, such a tax would have yielded $10 billion. Globally in 1996, it would have yielded $70 billion -- more than total official development assistance that year.

    Given a tax rate of $10/gig as shown above, would you consider 7,000,000,000 gigabytes of information too high for the world to have transferred in 1998 (including Quake, ftp.cdrom.com, and all else that comprises the network)? It doesn't sound unreasonable to me...

    From each according to ability, to each according to need.
  • i never said that the current systems worked in the least. i was just pointing out that we have it much better than the majority of people, and we shouldn't have to think twice about doing something that will help out the situation. one has to start somewhere right? if we can't even commit to giving some paltry sum, how can we do anything at all?
  • Posted by Justin:


    i think this is just downright wrong, no matter how little the amount is. i don't want my government taxing my internet activities. why not have a telnet tax? every time i telnet to a computer, i have to give them a cent. or how about a pop3 server tax? i have to pay $.05 to check my pop3 mail. or what if the government wants a dollar for every individual web page i look at? even if it's only $.0001 or so, it's just icky.
  • > Figure the U.S. population as 245 million
    Pretty close - 270,311,756 (July 1998 est.), according to the CIA [cia.gov]
  • No matter what the benefits, no matter what the features, this can not be, and is not a good thing.


    No how. No way.

  • This is not a troll.

    A fine idea -- I'm surprised no-one thought of this before. What's wrong with the idea that rich people pay towards the common good ? Tax is the basis of a civilised society. cf. USA / Russia.

    flames to /dev/null.

  • I have a semi-acronym for you; ICQ - That's not e-mail, would it be taxed? What about IRC? What about "WinPOP"? Does a company have to pay for internal mail? What about each new communications protocol as it pops up?

    The stupid thing about all of this is it's doing a band-aid approach, that is to say it just picks one particular arbitrary thing and targets it without any understanding of overall concepts.

    The only thing that might work would be a plain "packet tax". Even then, the Internet is too dynamic to make it workable.

    Anyway, these people already get their tax through ISPs.

    This is just another bit of stupidity by a bunch of suit-wearing technophobic dinosaurs. I bet they think their documents are stored "in Word". ("I tried to open a Jay-pegg in Word and all I got was gobbledigook. The stupid computer's broken again" - LUsers)


    Win a Rio [cjb.net] (or join the SETI Club via same link)
  • Even if this was imposed, which would occur around the time that hell freezes over, how could it be enforced?
    I am on cable, all my mail goes through my own SMTP server. What will I have to do, meter all the emails through there and charge myself?

    I have no problem with their raising funds for this worthy cause, but I fail to see how a recommendation from an organization such as the UN, which obviously, despite the considerable collective brainpower, has no idea what this involves, could ever be taken seriously.
  • Like every other tax once you let a governing body "in the door" they will come back and tax you in greater and greater ways for the same thing.

    .01 / 100 emails isn't much. But .01/100 emails + .05 / 100 web hits, + .10 / 100 connections to your ISP, etc... will quickly add up.
  • by mcc ( 14761 )
    any kind of internet laws or regulations are dangerous, especially by the U.N. It sets wierd precedent, and seems to be implying that the internet is something that governments can control. Today it's something seemingly harmless like this, but tomorrow..

    And if they in some way start counting e-mails sent, that sets up a system where they can do very scary things later to those same e-mails at the same time they're counted. Like read those e-mails if they aren't encrypted. How much you wanna bet that the Chineese government really likes this idea?

    "bring the internet to developing countries"? Um, first maybe we should bring, like, economic systems where more than 0.001% of the population is able to afford computers?
  • The right to shoot people?


    The right to preach racial bigotry?

    Yes. Free speech means free speech, even speech you are offended by. Everybody has the right to express their opinion. (Note: applies to the US, or should anyway. Other country's mileage may vary.)

  • We are fighting to make internet free and someone wants us to pay more?
    So we get rid from access payments, and phone payments, than someone wants us to pay for a message we send?
    Later they'd want us to pay by dowloaded byte.
  • If the UN were to impose a worldwide tax on anything, then it would be grossly overstepping its bounds. The sovereignty of national governments would be effectively usurped, and the UN would become world dictator. The Internet that we now so freely enjoy would be the catalyst.

    This grave concern supercedes all of the other technical and common sense reasons why such a tax would be an Extremely Bad Thing.

    Besides, the way I see it, the communications revolution is happening extremely quickly, and doesn't need a few hundred billion dollars to help it along. In just a matter of decades, the Internet will complete its journey from obscurity to ubiquity.

    How about ensuring basic necessities and rights for all people before shoving eCommerce and eDictatorship down our throats?
  • How would one tax using SMTP anyway? it would either have to be a whole new protocol, or add on to SMTP or ESTMP. Plus then theres all the bug sthat would appear, and peoples account being charged for emails they never sent because the script kiddies would find some way to abuse it. PLus if that did happen, people would probably set up "rouge" free smtp and pop servers. Taxing email just wouldnt work out, IMHO.
  • And every 18 months they will increase the rate by .005c! Kinda like when your letters get returned because the USPS has increased the postage fee (and you didnt see the post on /. about the rate increase).

    Hate it when that happens.
  • Besides all the other problems with this, it would do more to kill mailing lists than spam. How much would the vger admins suddenly owe?
  • > imposing measures intended to prevent births

    Oh, like the U.S. has been doing to a number of third-world countries? i.e. money-for-sterilization campeigns in areas that we won't even send enough food (at lower cost) to?
  • If it would actually accomplish any amount of good it wouldn't bother me at all. It won't accomplish anything so it does bother me. A lot of these underdeveloped nations have problems that make lack of internet access absolutely trivial in comparision. Little things like little water that we'd consider drinkable, lack of the ability to even farm at a scale large enough to support the community, lack of an educational system that might allow a few people to make it out alive, lack of anything greater than late 19th century medical technology, the presence of a government that feels the need to commit genocide against its own people. Just so that matter can be made even worse how about rampant overpopulation and birthrate.

    A far more useful thing would be to encourage or enforce birth control to keep the populations in check with the carrying capacity of the land. Harsh? Yes. Is it any harsher than referring to the deaths of civilians (of any side) as collateral damage during any war-like campaign? No.

    In most of these countries it won't be the people who get internet access, it'll be the oppressive government which also happens to keep their people in the dark ages.
  • I do hope Seth Finkelstein doesn't throw his shoulder patting himself on the back, but the fact is that his statement is not at all "informative". Every account of this matter I've seen describes it as a "proposal", and all he does is repeat at length that it is, in fact, a "proposal".
  • I don't assume that this is what the UN guy who suggested this tax had in mind (when considering issues like local email, mailing lists, etc. I don't think he has ever used email before)

    I imagine this isn't the result of blatant stupidity, as you credit it to, but rather a (l)user-level comprehension of e-mail systems. There seriously are people who think that AOL *is* the Internet. I imagine it wouldn't be too hard for AOL to keep track of how many e-mails you send. This person is probably someone who was on AOL (or some similarly nice, friendly, touchy-feely ISP) and noticed that they give him a count of how many e-mails he has sent. Upon noticing this, he didn't stop to ask someone who actually knew how this stuff works, but ran out and said, "they keep track of how much e-mail you send, which means we can tax e-mail and use the money to let starving Ethiopians networked Quake!"

    True, it's an idea that's not even half-baked, but it's not a completely absurd idea for someone with (l)user-level expertise to come up with.

  • ...it looks like another ploy by those socialist UN hacks still living in the '60s who spooge their trousers with glee every time they dream up another way to spend other people's money.
  • Ah yes! Very good point. As soon as smtp/pop3 is
    taxed there will be smtp_avoidtax1/pop3_avoidtax1.
    As soon as smtp_avoidtax1/pop3_avoidtax1 is taxed ...

  • There are a few separate issues when dealing with welfare-as-social-problem.

    1. As a whole, American society does a lot to discourage intelligence. This goes up exponentially in under-class neighborhoods.

    2. Money for welfare, and the minimum wage, take a one-size-fits-all approach that ignores little problems like cost-of-living.

    3. Welfare as it is currently set up discourages families from staying together, and people from finding work. Not surprising, since it was originally set up as sort of a "pension plan" for widows with young children, until they could find another husband to provide for them.

    Speaking from personal experience of having recently been unemployed for a month, being out of work is demoralizing. It is depressing. Helplessness sets in pretty damn fast for some people. And I know I have a good skill set and good references, and a father who will bail me out of severe financial problems. For someone who has none of these things, being out of work can be outright terrifying, and welfare or illegal activities their only way to survive.

    Vicious cycle, anyone? Again from personal experience, I used to spend a lot of time with a group of friends my cousin refers to as "The Lost Boys" (I was Wendy, basically). They were around my age (I'm 21; they range from 19-22), had all dropped out or flunked out of college, had part-time jobs at pizza parlors or Wal-Mart (or no jobs at all), and still lived with their parents.

    I haven't lived with my parents since I was 16 (though they were still helping me financially until slightly after I got out of college, and will still bail me in a crisis). I got my degree when I was 19. I had/have a full time non-WalMart job (at the time it was in the security vault of a bank, now it's at the local utility company as a technical writer).

    Being around the Lost Boys was kind of frightening for me, even though one is my ex and one (slightly more responsible and level-headed than the rest) is my boyfriend. None of them are stupid. But only one of them (my boyfriend) gives a damn of ever making anything of himself. (Well, except for the one who predicts a Shadowrun-like scenario in the aftermath of Y2K and thinks he's going to be this powerful wizard, but that's another story!)

    And these are all guys with successful, intelligent parents. One has a very "together" younger sister. They have examples. The folks my age in the underclass tend not to have very good examples.

    One of the reasons my boyfriend and I don't hang out with them much anymore is the anti-success peer pressure. They seemed to find it amusing that I didn't want to sit in Denny's until 2:30 AM on a weekday because I had to be at work at 8 the next morning. "Corporate drone!" they say. Yeah, but I have rent to pay, unlike some people. Better to be a corporate drone with my OWN roof over my OWN head than a bum sponging off Mommy and Daddy or Big Brother. But a scary amount of people don't see it that way. :/
  • I have "a grip". The post mentions e-mail as an example, but talks about a bit-tax on "data sent through the Internet".


  • the new rules only apply to private mail boxes. You only need cash to open up a regular post office box at your local post office. The post office can't make people give up that much information for there own services because they are a government organization under the Privacy Act of 1974, and they would need congressional approval. This decision was just a little thing the postal service "made up." Them fraud artists and criminals still have plenty of ways of getting around it, and everyone knows it.
  • A very good idea. Check out the Jubilee 2000 [xibalba.com] website for more info. It's a very overtly christian website, but don't let that put you off; the idea is a good one for compassionate people with any belief system.


  • ignorant savage: (n) people who keep having babies without the means to feed them.

    Sorry, but I just cannot seem to understand your point of view.
  • fnord you don't fnord know what you're fnord talking about, you fnord paranoid fnord freak fnord.

  • "The report proposes a tax of the equivalent of one US cent on every 100 emails that an individual might send. Ranworth said that had this type of program been in place in 1996, it would have generated US$70 billion in development assistance that year. "
    Let's say there are 700 million individuals in the world who have sent email (I think this number may be on the high side, but not by more than 50% or so; good enough for what I'm about to show).

    In order to have generated US$70 Billion, this tax of US$0.0001 per email could only have been generated if, on average, each one of these 700 million emailers sent out

    (total $)/(($ per email)*(number of emailers)), or

    7e10/(1e-4*7e8)=7e10/7e4=1e6, or

    one million emails each!!

    Yeah, right.

    They're either lying or stupid, take your pick.

    I'm sick and tired of math-challenged people out to prove a 'point', making up numbers and thinking nobody will check.

    Well, we're on to you, Ranworth.


  • Out of curiosity, who decided that the US owes the UN money? Or "dues"? IIRC, (and I probably do not, so _please_ correct me because I'd really like to know,) the US dues were promised by President Clinton, but never approved by Congress. If this is that case, then it carries no worth as all money matters _must_ start in the House, as declared by the U.S. Constitution.

    May be this should be a slashdot poll (yeah, right) "should the US has a lot of power in the UN.) I'd rather just see it leave. Most of the world is not the US, and there is no reason for the US to force its ideas on other countries. Wasn't the UN formed to protect human right's? That is the one case where I believe the Monroe Doctrine should be ignored.

    Any and all comment welcome here.
  • First of all you're pretty damned arrogant to think that the US is the greatest country in the world. In fact it ranks 7th in economic freedom. FYI at the time of the study Hong Kong ranked 1st, but since they are now communist number one is Singapore. Secondly, this is not an american thing, this is the United Nations. If the President signs a treaty w/ the UN (or anyone else for that matter) and said treaty is ratified by the Senate, it will be come effective law of america, regardless of whether or not it violates are own constitution. The reason: treaties are higher in priority than our constitution. If you are wondering about this, recall the genocide treaty from a few years ago that said that making racial jokes constituted genocide. Had the Senate ratified it, regardless of the fact that it would violate the first amendment to the Constitution, it would still have been enforced.
  • Oh, yes, let's all follow the example of Ted Turner:

    Denegrate the Ten Commandments (obstensibly practiced by about 2 billion Jews and Christians) as being outdated and silly?

    Answer a question about the Pope (who, let's face it, has done more to further human rights than Turner ever will, regardless of what you think of Catholicism), by making Pollock jokes?

    Preach high and low about population control and yet have five children of his own. (Translation: I can make as many rich, well-educated kids as I want but let's get rid of those smelly little yellow and brown people messing up our planet).

    I won't even mention his traitorous wife who would have been hanged for treason in previous generations.

    Yes, an example for all of us to follow.

  • Read the actual report, it says that it would have raised $70 billion *globally*, not only in the USA.

    God, it's tempting to make comments about egocentric Americans... But since the Wired article *was* misleading, it's OK. Just think twice next time, eh?

    -Mister "Riled-up-Canadian" Ed.

  • For such a smart guy, how can you say something so stupid???!!! Have you ever heard of the freedom of speech? How is it that we could speak freely if we are taxed for every item we send? Maybe some countries don't have The Constitution like us... look at the shape Europe is in! Asia, Africa... come on! They are falling apart and have not ever been even partially as successful as the US.

    NEVER should the government be allowed to control ANYTHING that happens over the internet! Why did the government allow sales on the internet without sales tax? Simple: because they could not stop people from selling w/o tax. But now everyone registers their online business with the government and so when they decide to start taxing again, suddenly everyone is in their grips.

    If Jefferson or any other founding fathers (even the ones who were considered liberal at the time) were around now and saw how their country taxes out 40+% of all national income, they would fall right back into their grave.

    Are spammers really an excuse to give government the right to rule our internet actions? Buy a damn filter program.
  • You see an important place for government and are willing to give up to it unconditionally, i suppose? The "disease" you describe is wrong. Governments are not the "disease". They become diseased after time. Then the corrode and die.
    (Unfortunately, people get caught up in the corrosion and get hurt.)
    They /. ers that u describe are against this disease because they know this. In a way, MS follows the same metaphor. Once it was strong. It had it's place. Now it's corroding in it's own complacency. And the /.er is in the same spot, fighting the corrosion.

    >"Soon the repubs will run this country to the
    >ground with their isolationism and
    > anti-social(istic) efforts"
    This is incorrect/ up to debate. Isolationalism has never been a major mark of the republican. It has occured once in a while in some individuals.
    Modern republicans tend to view the world as a big place with many opportunities to make $$ :)

    By "anti-social efforts": are you talking about socialism and the typical republican, democratic, response to it? Or are you talking about the conservative response to the liberal form of socialism? This is a completely different subject which i dont wanna get into.

    As a final note, you mention the "grand individual and their right to non-intereference" with a negative tone. Are you an american citizen? Cuz this has historically been one of the key "American" ideals since the very beginning of the american state.

    my 2 cents.
  • So, kind of like NYC or some sections of Washington DC, then?
  • The individual built this country. This republic is the most powerful force the world has ever seen. Only now, as you socialist virii infect our civilization do we see it's decline. You make me sick.
  • Ancient Geek,

    You are my kind of guy. B)
  • "The alternative to government (read, representative, elected) control of the internet is corporate control of the internet."

    Hmm...lets see...

    Corporate control: Allows you to choose how you get your connection, how fast it is, and what services you use through the free market.

    Government control: Complete loss of choice about all three.

    Of course, you don't WANT people to have any choice, otherwise you wouldn't be dumping on the Libertarians.
  • Despite being posted on the raging hotbed of socialist ideals that is Slashdot, I'm assuming that your comment was facetious in nature.

    Now, I'm not going to argue that yes, it really is a good idea, but I am going to say, wouldn't it be great if the richest people in the world voluntarily (as in, without even being asked to) gave significant amounts to worthy, external causes? And by significant, I don't mean, "oooh, Bill just gave $1 million to somebody," but rather, "Bill Gates today announced that he would donate 50% of his total worth to the following charities."

    Many rich people philanthropize just enough to be seen doing it, and don't give as much as they could give. Others devote their personal time, energy, and money to one cause after another, believing that it is right for them to use their resources to help others. Even if you don't like his music (or the particular causes he chooses, which I often don't), you have to admit that U2's Bono is an admirable public figure. He spends his time between albums and tours running around helping various causes and movements...And even if he doesn't give that much to the cause monetarily, his presence gets the cause into the news so that the average Joe will notice it. Even if wealthy folks don't want to give money to a cause, they could at least take a few hours to speak out in support of it to draw attention to it.

    After all, how popular would the Free Tibet movement be in America if it weren't for the fact that there are a bunch of bands promoting it?
  • Not even...It's one "fucking cent" per 100 e-mails, actually...
  • Reagan's Vice President, the legendary Dan Quayle, was more effective than the U.N. over the course of its entire existence.

    Reagan's Vice President was George Bush, not Dan Quayle.

  • Hey, I've got a better idea! Let's tax...abortions! One million abortions in the USA alone every year, times say $100 == $100 million dollars!

    I dunno about you, but I can't say I'd feel comfortable knowing that my internet access was being funded by blood money.

  • Not possible.. Where do you actually perform the tax? On the ISP SMTP server? Ok, I'll bounce it to another SMTP server.. You really can't track this sort of thing..
  • Ah, the brave new world of the Internet, where post-industrial powers like the USA arm-twist emerging countries indo adopting our ridiculously extended copyright and patent laws (heck, even Microsoft has a patent on "style sheets"... which existed before Microsoft).

    As the USA passes more and more laws against online "evils" like online gambling, porn, and CRYPTO, and demand goes UP, we'll see a lot of development moving offshore. Lots of internet gambling sites relocated from the USA to the Carribean for this very reason.

    The world is going *broadband*, big time. The next big thing will be broadcasting over IP, and the net offers unlimited freedom. People WANT trash for television... look at all the daytime talk shows or the nighttime "COPS" type offerings. People order extra-explicit versions of these tapes because you can't get it on TV. I went to see the South Park movie (died laughing :) and I really wish it were like this on TV (it *is* cable).

    All this stuff and more will be streaming at viewing quality in just a couple more years. The US might have one of the best technology infrastructures in the world, but this is a capitalist world and services will move to make the highest profit, so the third-world will get their Internet.

    There's no shortage of clueless breeder drones in the US who want the government and television to work as their babysitter. That alone will export all the Internet the 3rd world needs...

  • I suppose he is a Web Century or so behind the times in terminology, but that doesn't affect the accuracy of his arguments nor the quality of his expression, both of which I thought were high.

    When I moved to Los Angeles in 1983, I didn't have much money. So I lived in a cruddy slum-class building in Venice. Members of the underclass are very much interested in the con, very much interested in working as little as they can, and very keen on consuming as many illegal drugs as humanly possible. You really have to see this up close to understand the original poster's comment. I have developed a theory that the closer to the poor you are, the less you sympathise with them. I was close to the poor for a number of years, and that's cured me of any charitable impulses I might have had. The poor that I saw fully deserved to be poor.

    I don't think this is exclusively a racial thing; it's cultural. Whether black or brown or white or purple, people with underclass attitudes act in underclass ways. True, more blacks have this attitude than whites, but the problem is more universal than most people want to think - and the solutions are personal and have nothing to do with the acts of other groups.


  • Posted by Reitzel:

    Well, I hate to be the one to bring this up, but does anyone really think that governments are going to ignore the billions of dollars of e-commerce? That's the current cash flow, and we all know that it soon will be hundreds of billions.

    We're going to get taxed. What we need to try to do is make that tax non-content based (bandwidth, maybe?) so that the aforementioned governments do not have control over any of the content.

    Of course, we may get lucky and have this medium spell an end to government as we know it. Think, though, that this just might mean the coronation of the likes of Bill Gates.

  • You forget that Taiwan is not really a country, but a province of china that thinks it is a country. Just like China is a province of Taiwan that thinks it owns taiwan.

    I like this claiming to own countries thing. As of now, I own Finland. Submit to me, my finland, or feel the wrath of my empty rhetoric!!!
  • What arrogance! Who are you to presume that they are ignorant savages?

    Do you think everyone that doesn't know everything is an ignorant savage? Then which is it-- do you know everything, or are you an ignorant savage?

    Everybody has a lot to learn, and we in "civilized" nations surely have a lot to learn from less industrialized cultures. Believe me, I espouse this a whole lot.

    In this case, most people who study the problem agree that overpopulation is causing a lot of ecological problems in a lot of locations. Apparently a lot of people bearing children don't know the urgency of the situation. Sure, listen to them and their views and ideas, but make sure they understand the consequences as you see them. Ultimately, they choose. It's not like I'm advocating forced sterilization or anything.

    I know well-educated, otherwise intelligent people in America who are still quite ignorant of the risk of AIDS! Scary. As if ignoring it makes the risk go away.

  • by omidk ( 3670 )
    I swear to god...everytime i turn my head i see some sort of communist attempt to fucking tax a currently free medium. Im not anti communist or anything but why is it necessary to always make something that is free and great expensive. I guess i know why but i will be moderated down so i better shut my mouth now.......
  • yeah its good to stop spammers and make everyone else feel guilty for emailing their friends!!!!!!
  • The UN doesn't have the authority to levy a tax on any nation. They can beg, plead, suggest and whine, but as it now stands, they are not a "real" government. Should they succeed in levying a tax on nations, it would open up a whole can of worms.
  • You are correct, but the question remains how you expect the 'developing countries' to create this long-term solution if the dont have the money NOW to start working on it.
    The internet was created using gouvernement money (it was a MILITARY PROJECY, remember?), my 5 years of high-school education was payed mainly via gouvernement money.
    Where does this money come from? TAX!

    The next question will be, why do we have to pay for them?
    Perhaps, ... the money for these 5 years of higher eduction I have had, actually came from the fact that my country has exploited the thirth world countries (mainly Congo, in this case) by extracting all the couper, cobalt, ... I don't know what ... at a price so low.

    Well, I also DID gain from it. Paying my x. eurocent per megabyte internet-traffic seams like a small thing to 'give back', doesn't it.

    And besides, creating an internet or internet-like structure in (e.g.) Africa will help the flow of knowledge of these countries to the rest of the world. (e.g. councerning the medical usage of certain plants in the african forests that could help the fight the illness you would otherwize have died from).
    KNOWLEDGE in the only good who's total value INCREASE by sharing it among more people!

    Cheerio! Kr. Bonne.
  • I fully agree that there is an important place for anonymity on the Internet. But there is a difference between claiming to be "Publius" or "Anonymous Coward #1234" and claiming to be "Linus Torvalds."

    A law against falsification of identity in electronic correspondance should be against claiming to be someone you are not, rather than against obvious anonymity. It would be easy (and uncontrovercial) to require anonymous messages to be explicitly and conspicuously marked as being anonymous (like using usernames like "Anon1234" or "Anonymous Coward").

    That should satisfy most concerns.
  • Q: And who is going to end up footing the bill for the COMBINED NATO destruction in Kosovo/Serbia?

    A:Why, the EU. Who dragged NATO into bombarding Serbia for months on end? The USAmericans.

    Q: Who constantly bails out Mexico's failing economy?

    A: Amongst others, the USAmericans. Why? Well, wouldn't you do the same if you had millions of illegal immigrants swarming across your southern border? Also, Mexico can't fall apart or all the US-owned industry down there (Nike, tech companies) would suffer.

    Q: Who is now preparing multi-billion dollar bailouts for the former USSR?

    A: As said in a previous post, the same country that would suffer from terrorists armed with nuclear warheads. Think the Oklahoma bombing was big?

    Q: Who spends billions/year stationing half of our military might in the middle east to protect half of the countries there?

    A: Replace "Half of the countries" with "The countries that supply the oil which we need to keep up our bloated standard of living" and you've got it pretty much right. (Kuwait!)

    Q: Who rebuilt half of post-WWII Europe/Japan?

    A: This is a good deed which the United States has performed in the past. No question about it. A few things: The United States rebuilt Japan so as to make sure that it would not turn to the USSR for help. They created Japan as an American-Asian country (which it remains today) to base their military efforts in the Pacific Rim. It wasn't just altruism. Same goes for Europe, to a lesser extent. The Eastern sections of Europe were under USSR control, and it wouldn't do to have the rest of europe looking shabby.

    Q: Who is CONSTANTLY dumping money into relief efforts around the world?

    A: Read earlier posts. Just because the US puts more money into relief efforts, doesn't mean that Americans are doing more, percentage-of-GDP-wise. Also, since our 20% of the world's popluation devour and own 80% of the resources, ya gotta figure we owe something back?

    "Michael Jordan gets paid $20 million to wear his Nikes. Children in Indonesia get paid $2.20 a day to make them."

  • Might want to re-read the post AC. A clear distinction is made between representative and popular forms of government; and also between administrative and legislative law.

    Taxation is not policy, and if the UN becomes a body that levies taxation, a typical function of legislative bodies of government, citizenry should have more of a direct say in who represents their interest. As it stands, the UN is more analagous to an executory branch of government, which usually can only quasi-tax by setting up fines, fees, and tariffs. That is the point of the message.

    At the present time, the UN does not have that power. Even if they adopt a resolution to impose a tax, they theoritically cannot enforce it, they can only encourage the member countries to adopt the tax through their own legislative branch. In this way, it is analagous to how a federal executory department can recommend taxation to congress. The major diversion in analogy occurs because the UN has an army while the FCC does not.

    This causes at least a perceived since of danger. By legal realism standards, the UN could theoratically posit their law and maintain it with their army. Granted, at least some armies are reluctant to use force against their countrymen, but this threat is enough to cause some degree of panic. Particularly among many US citizens who, while they may not actively show it, still have a large since of national identity and have their political roots born out of libetarinism.

    I do grant their are two problems in the above explanation. First, a pure popular form of government breaks down above a certain threshhold of citizenry. It would take too long to have every person vote and debate on every issue. However, if a semi-autonomous entity even begins to think of recommending taxation legislation, I want more direct representation. I want to vote for the party occupying the seat. I do not want to be represented by a distant emissary.

    My vote for the President of the United States is for the chief executive of my political system. For the president to abuse his power (i.e. be a part of any system imposing a legislative function)or not honor the laws of the US, chiefly the constitutional seperation of power, would violate the trust of my agreement, void his oath of office, and subject him/her to grounds of impeachment.

    This leads to the second problem, while the FCC does not have an army, the executive branch does, so it could theoretically posit its own laws and ignore the other two branches of government. To my knowledge, this has only been threatend once in American History (re: Andrew Jackson stating to the effect, "I see the Supreme Court has made their decision. Lets see if they can enforce it."), and has never occurred.

    My analogies and explanations are based on US political theory and law; however, I hope that some of it will be loosely analagous to other /. readers political systems.
  • I would be more comfortable if UN speeded up its debt collection. A lot of the countries (the US that I know of specifically) who use the UN to further their political agendas do not pay up their annual membership (?) dues. I recall reading some statistics that the UN is owed a few billion dollars.

    If the UN cannot collect from its member nations, what hope does it have to collect from Joe Spammer??

  • Yes please! Look at Europe's shape, and compare it to the US,

    where the state is allowed to murder people in the name of the law.
    The only problem with the death penalty is that we do not use it enough. I strongly believe the first time a person is executed with in a few months of committing his crime, criminals will begin to think twice.

    Where the number of people in jail (in % of the population) is the highest in the world.
    Where there is still the highest crime rate and 'bodycount' worldwide in big cities, despite capital
    punishment and 'zero-tolerance' laws, which seriously restrict the freedom of the individual.
    I agree, zero-tolerance laws can get kind of ridiculous, but I believe we should have an extremely low tolerance to all crimes if we want our laws to have any effect whatsoever.

    Where you have mass murderings of kids running amok each summer, as they can't stand the
    narrow-mindedness of the seemingly "free,liberal society".
    Where you have an enormous number of people - children and young people - without a perspective,
    education or "equal chances", thus being pushed into a criminal career, although the US is one of the
    richest countries of the world.
    No one is pushed into a criminal career. Let's not forget personal responsiblity here. A life of crime is chosen. Never has someone put a gun to someone else's head and forced them to become a criminal.

    Have you ever though of the fact that taxes could be spent to prevent this, to lower the crime rate, to give
    a perspective to seemingly hopeless people?
    Of course taxes could be spent in that manner, but until voters become more educated, we're going to continue to get dicked over by good-looking career politicians that don't have a logical cell in their brain.

    Maybe unemployment and taxes are higher in (parts of) Europe, but at least I can live here freely without
    fear that someone with enough resources makes me responsible for someone else murder, hires an
    expensive lawyer and sends me into the gas chamber (and yes, faking evidence is not a problem anymore).
    I don't have that fear and I live in the US.

    I can live without the fear that I will die because I can't affort to go to the doctor.
    It is YOUR responsiblity to take care of your own health. In america there are countless charities that will help you if you cannot afford your own health care. I've never seen a doctor refuse to help someone...

    I don't have to care about stupid political correctness when I want to express my opinion.
    I don't have to care about that either.

    I don't have to worry that some (European) company sells private information to, say, some obscure sect
    that starts to terrorize me then.

    In a word, I'd never exchange European values for the US constitution, let alone US reality.
    I have tell you that the Constitution has been extremely valuable in the development of the United States. Without it things would be extremely out of control. What can be so bad about having a document which specifies what government is supposed to do and what government should stay away from. The key is not to trust anyone with unlimited power...

    God bless America. They really need it!

    I would say so! I was in Europe only a few months ago.. When the hell are you people going to figure out the concept of ice?
  • There is no email program out there that really fits those adjectives, but every commercial alternative to sendmail I know of is much less a candidate for the same description.
  • "The Founding Fathers had
    experienced living under the rule of a European tyrant, and were afraid of having a standing army.
    They felt that a standing army could be used against US citizens, so they thought that the
    citizen-soldier concept - modeled after the Swiss - would afford the US the protection it needed
    from outside invaders while preserving its freedom within."

    It's time to change that part of the constitution now. I don't know if you've been in a poor urban neighbourhood lately, but it seems to me that citizens today are more in danger from the bad elements among them than from a standing army/police.
  • It's a callous attitude, but if your program has a memory leak do you just buy more memory?
  • [my idealist side:]
    Even a penny per message*recipent. I could mail to my heart's content and still spend less than I blow on Snickers and Coke (the cola), and if that would help others get in on the fun who couldn't otherwise, great!

    [my cynical side:]
    Of course, the sad reality is that the administration would cost more than the revenues, and even if they did squeeze any cash out of it, it probably wouldn't end up in the intended hands.

  • The economic spin-off benefits from "offshore" businesses in the Caribbean and elsewhere are few for the people in that country. Offshore business relocation generally wouldn't happen if there were taxes to generate economic development or improve infrastructure. High-paid, skilled employees of internet gaming companies come from whatever country spawned the company in the first place, and you can bet that they are not investing in local education or local development (hiring servants, and guards for gated compounds, is a poor-quality spin-off and does not represent a sustainable industry).

    Creating new bandwidth to support a sports pool or casino enterprise does not translate to high bandwidth internet access for ordinary citizens of "offshore" countries, any more than the growing number of phone sex chat companies in the Caribbean is going to mean everyone there gets voice mail, or even telephone service.

    I take the view that the more people, and more diversity, on the net, the greater the benefit for everyone. The best means for ensuring this happens is to promote, and provide resources (including money) for projects which extend telecommunications services to all of those people who have no access to such services now. Get the switches and lines in, then start carrying IP on them.

    Whether funding for this comes from tariffs on internet traffic or somewhere else is an interesting question. Many posts here have pointed out the impossibility or at least extreme difficulty or imposing, monitoring and enforcing tariffs internationally on the internet. I'm not a tax specialist or an economist (neither are >99% of the people who have posted here - it shows too), but my feeling is that any tariff would have to be imposed at a national level, by an international agreement. The only institutions I can think of at a national level that might be able to generate tariff revenue are national domain registrars.

    Another alternative is for an international internet development agency to spring up and to promote grassroots-level programs such as the already existing Grameen Bank telecom and internet community programs in Bangladesh.
    (couldn't find a link for the internet acces project, it may still be in the planning stages)
  • The US is one of the biggest contributors to the IMF. The us is practically the imf.

    Incorrect. The US gives approximately $7 billion annually to the IMF, while Japan, which has a much lower GDP than the US, gives approximately $15 billion.
  • Posted by ShannonBrown:

    While the ire against yet another inconceived attempt to "tax" the Internet is warranted, my concerns regarding this issue lie in the assumption that the United Nations has the authority to "tax" or even suggest a "tax" to any sovereign government. No one is a citizen of the United Nations. Therefore, even the presumtption that the UN has "taxing" powers or even "suggestive" powers is a dangerous precedent.
  • The companies wouldn't have it. This would basically kill the effectiveness of such places like Hotmail. They get their money from the ads, but now people are sending less emails because of the tax, and most people that use those accounts don't put their real information in there anyway, so the ads will be seen less often, causing less money for the company.

    It's only a suggestion. And it shall stay there for eternity. (If it does go into effect, you better believe I'll help find a way to mask how many emails I send out!)
  • Posted by ShannonBrown:

    While the ire against yet another ill-conceived attempt to "tax" the Internet is warranted, my concerns regarding this issue lie in the assumption that the United Nations has the authority to "tax" or even suggest a "tax" to any sovereign government. No one is a citizen of the United Nations. Therefore, even the presumtption that the UN has "taxing" powers or even "suggestive" powers is a dangerous precedent.
  • Sure, that's how it will start. With just a simple one-cent tax per 100 emails. Then "they" are flying over your house in black helicopters, beaming mind-control lasers in from their orbital platforms, monitoring every keystroke you make on your keyboard while they watch the output of your monitor, and eventually, showing up for your guns. Its really just the first step to the One World Wide Web Order.

    Besides, we all know the Rosicrucian's are manipulating the Jaycees, who are using the influence of the international banking cartels and the Gnomes of Zurich to have The Vast Right-Wing conspiracy manipulate UN policy through their devious front, FEMA.

    I know its true, because my Ouija board said so! And I heard the time traveler (who was also the Antichrist) discussing it with Art Bell last week.

    Ow, my headache is back. I think I need to double up on the tinfoil...



  • If you think Bill G have donated anything to the UN, think again. Ted Turner donated one billion US dollars to the UN.

    Bill G donated a lot of money to a fund which his father is the trustee of.

    Go figure.

    And I'm not sure that TT did give one billon in one big heap, or 100 million each year in ten years, or some other scheme. But more billionaires should follow TTs lead, show the world what their made of, stone or flesh.
  • *sigh* If they had suggested setting up a fund to receive voluntary contributions, I think that an awful lot of people would have cheerfully chipped in to spread the gospel of electronic communication. But most of those same people will dig in their heels and resist mightily any attempt at a "tax".

    Figuring out when people are sending email is also going to be an interesting problem. A person like me who prefers to run his own SMTP daemons won't be noticed unless his ISP hacks its routers rather severely. And you know that many bright souls will get to work on tunnelling, etc. to evade the tax.

    Didn't they take *any* advice from someone who knows something about email?
  • Microsoft has already expanded into developing countries. In 1997, the company opened offices in South Africa, Kenya, and the Ivory Coast.

    WTF? How did that get in there? American computer companies have been in Africa for many decades? Is this a Microsoft promo piece?
  • 1) The United States isn't paying to rebuild Serbia, since the US Congress refuses to appropriate money while Milosevic remains in office. The only thing the U.S. payed for was to bomb it.

    2) The U.S. is only bailing out Russia because it's afraid that Russian nukes will be sold to terrorists to get the money if it doesn't. It really doesn't have any choice. This isn't some sort of altruistic deal.

    3) Foreign aid is a joke. Over 75% of the US's foreign aid expenditures are for military aid, almost all of it to Israel and Egypt (who get $3 billion and $2 billion annually, respectively). This is just money that goes from the pockets of U.S. taxpayers to U.S. weapons manufacturers.

    So, no, the U.S. is not "fixing the world's problems" with its expenditures. The little it gives to the U.N. funds programs such as UNICEF and the United Nations Development Fund that do solve problems, which is why it should pay its dues in full.
  • It doesn't seem to make sense to tax companies for email sent between users within the same local network. Then the question seems to become, what consitutes a "local network." If a company or groups uses a proprietary email program over a VPN, what then? The whole idea seems rediculous.
  • >Maybe some countries don't have The Constitution >like us... look at the shape Europe is in! Asia, >Africa... come on! They are falling apart and >have not ever been even partially as successful >as the US.

    Why, thank you very much for your patronizing comments. Just FYI, most Western Europe countries are as much a democracy as the USA, as well as many South American countries before the CIA started to invest massive amounts of money there to promote dictatorships to protect "american interests".
    Oh, and just to mention one example of "free speech": which countries will be able to see the full, *uncensored* version of Stanley Kubrick's latest film?
  • 1 epistle every 11s isn't normal, even for me, but lots of people using spam bulk-delivery tools might stand a chance of bringing that up a bit, mightn't it?

    Gee, them email headers. Long things, them...

  • > It's a callous attitude, but if your program has
    > a memory leak do you just buy more memory?

    Of course not; obviously we need to make sure these people don't reproduce, to leave more resources for the rest of us. These people are nothing more than a resource leak in the grand program of life that must be excised... Oh, wait ... that's genocide, isn't it?

    Yes, it is a very callous attitude. It is an arrogant attitude.

    That being said, you are right in implying that there are some fundamental inefficiencies in these areas that limit the effectiveness of simply pumping in resources (i.e. food). I would submit, however, that they are not the result of overpopulation, but corrupt and inefficient governments. There are, even now, enough resources to go around; the problem is that they end up "going around" to a very few people.

    Since when has it been right, or even efficient, to eliminate a group of people simply to prop up the economic viability of a wasteful totalitarian regime?

    Who made you and your kind the masters of humanity, such that you can select entire portions of the population and deem them a waste of resources?

    Since when do you start throwing out valuable data rather than fixing an innefficient resource allocation scheme?

    The really sad thing is that in many cases, these governmnents are in power largely because of our intervention in the regional politics in the first place.

    Can we stop acting like we know better how to run other people's affairs? Can we stop making things worse because we don't really understand what's going on? Can we stop telling them whether or not they should have children? Can we stop telling them who their leaders should be? (yes, we HAVE contributed to the overthrow of several democratically elected governments)

    Can we stop acting like we are some superior civilization, it being our birthright to dictate the way the rest of the world is run?
  • However, there's not much the UN can do about this unless they want to lower the amount of food production by agriculture that we already have. See, just because food production increases, that doesn't mean that the "starving millions" will get fed. It just means that we'll have more people, including more starving people. So spending money on anything besides keeping the amount of food being produced the same this year as it was last year will just result in making more people than there were last year.
  • If, as part of my ISP signup, my ISP asked me, "Would you like us to add an additional 50 cents to your bill which would go to a UN fund to aid in the development of the Internet in lesser-fortunate countries?"

    I'd say "Sure, that sounds nifty."

    Even if it was just a general-purpose "Internet for the poorer" type of fund, I'd still have no problem spending an extra 50 cents a month for it.

    Using a flat-rate voluntary fee would have a minimal impact on the ISP (they just have to write a check each month) and the administrative/collection requirements on the part of the organization collecting the money would be trivial in comparison with a "tax".
  • by rshah ( 29912 ) on Tuesday July 13, 1999 @04:49PM (#1804183) Homepage
    From: Seth Finkelstein
    Subject: Re: UN Proposes Global Email Tax
    Posted to Cyberia-L
    From: Seth Finkelstein Subject: Re: UN Proposes Global Email Tax


    This looks likes the sort of thing which will get vectored by the Libertarian and the gullible (by no means disjoint sets!), and receive lots of help from hype-mongering "reporters" who seem to have invented the Internet's own particular version of yellow journalism (instead of *pedophiles* lurking in the Net to _molest_ *your children*, it's the *UN* trying to _tax_ *your email*). There is a report dozens and dozens of pages long, http://www.undp.org/hdro/contents.html on all sorts of weighty topics having to do with world populations, globalization and the Internet. In it, there are A FEW SENTENCES, which read as follows:

    "There is an urgent need to find the resources to fund the global communications revolution -- to ensure that it is truly global. One proposal is a "bit tax" -- a very small tax on the amount of data sent through the Internet. The costs for users would be negligible: sending 100 emails a day, each containing a 10-kilobyte document (a very long one), would raise a tax of just 1 cent. Yet with email booming worldwide, the total would be substantial. In Belgium in 1998, such a tax would have yielded $10 billion. Globally in 1996, it would have yielded $70 billion -- more than total official development assistance that year."

    And later, reprised:

    "* New funding mechanisms should be created to ensure that the information revolution leads to human development, not human polarization. Two proposals -- a bit tax and a patent tax -- would raise funds from those who already have access to technology and use them to help extend the benefits more widely."

    That's it. Just a *mention* of a *proposal*, nothing more than the outline of a vague idea. There are plenty of other ideas mentioned in the report, e.g. "Alternatively, funding could be reallocated from the research subsidies, grants and tax breaks now given to industry." and "Citizens could be given tax credits for contributing care services that develop long-term relationships between individuals.".

    I hope I've helped stop an urban-legend-in-the-making, but I'm scared that the meme is going to be just too attractive.

    ------------------------------------------------ --------------------- Seth Finkelstein Consulting Web Programmer sethf@mit.edu
  • Goverments pay for the police and public education among other things.

    Police are a good thing when their authority is restricted to the few laws on the books in a free society. However, they are a mixed blessing at best when their authority has bloated to its current extent. That's what causes the widespread instant gut reaction of antipathy towards any new government initiative.

    As for the public education system, don't even get me started.

    Getting back to the subject, it's hardly realistic to suppose that an Internet initiative sponsored by the UN, most of whose member states are kleptocratic fiefdoms, is going to respect the basic pro-freedom perspective of Net culture. Fortunately, this one is going nowhere, since its vacuousness is obvious even to politicians.

  • What an utterly stupid proposal! Besides it being just plain wrong, it would be nearly impossible to implement. I assume that they would only want each e-mail taxed one time so you couldn't implement this on the servers because the mail may have to pass through more than one to get to a destinaton address. Therefore, you would have to implement in on the client and I'll be damned if I'm going to use a mail client that charges me.
    The UN doesn't have any real power anyway, it's only when the big major countries in the Security Council decide to declare a war that anything happens.
  • The U.N. has never really done anything major. For the most part, it's the permanent members of the Security Council bickering over sanctions and bombing. They certainly have no taxation authority and will never get it. Didn't we try the "loose collective" idea in the USA with the Articles of Confederation? It didn't work and neither will the U.N. ever get anything real done.

    Much of the money that goes to the U.N. is sucked up by bureaucrats living the high life in NY and other parts of the world, enjoying the privileges of their diplomatic passports. If Bill Gates and Ted Turner could actually setup Internet for these developing countries, they'd be far better off.

    Better still, just take all the money and buy the hardware they need, because we all know that we can get free software that would work great for these guys.

    'nuf said!
  • Email is typically a message sent via the smtp
    protocol over port 25. How exactly would they tax this? Honor system? Filters at every isp? Filters on the backbone? Do they even know what they're asking?

    And nothing says I can't encapsulate my email message into a packet that travels on a different port until it gets past the filter, then translates back to port 25 once it gets back inside a friendly network. This would require a slight change to the sendmail configuration, but nothing your average sysadmin couldn't handle.

    Oh.. but this would require the server on BOTH ends, so I couldn't send email everywhere like this. Well, lets see. I send email, on average, to less than 100 different people, so as long as they were set up to be compatible with me, I wouldn't need to worry about it. All the external spam messages, well, hey, not my problem.

    Ok.. so they figure out the port, and latch on to it as well. Ok, so we use dynamic ports. One packet goes through just to set up a separate port for the mail message to go through. The port would never be constant, therefore, it could never be filtered (although that is unfeasible anyways).

    I could go on, but I know this will never go anywhere, so its not really worth the effort. All I'm saying is that whatever method they plan to use to enforce this tax would be so cost prohibitive that it wouldn't make any sense to do it in the first place. And even if they do it, most people could find a way around it with just a little creative coding.

  • ROFL
  • Article VI, paragraph 2, makes treaties the supreme law of the land on the same footing with acts of Congress. By this supremacy clause, both statutes and treaties "are declared...to be the supreme law of the land, and no superior efficacy is given to either over the other." As statutes may be held void because they contravene the Constitution, it should follow that treaties may be held void, the Constitution being superior to both. And indeed the Court has numerous times so stated. It does not appear that the Court has ever held a treaty unconstitutional, although there are examples in which decision was seemingly based on a reading compelled by constitutional considerations.

    I only know of one genocide treaty, the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The US ratified it during the early 80s under Reagan's administration. The only acts made punishable by the Convention are genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, attempt to commit genocide, and complicity in genocide. Genocide is defined as killing members of the group, causing serious bodily or mental harm, forcibly transferring children, imposing measures intended to prevent births, and deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about the group's physical destruction in whole or part.

    IANAL, but I hardly see how making a racial joke could in any way be construed as "direct and public incitement to commit genocide".

    Try to get a clue next time you post something inflammatory.
  • Or rather, that we were able to stay in denial about losing it longer than they were. You don't win a war, hot or cold...You just lose less because of it than the other guy.
  • 1. How are they going to collect the tax? Force everyone to use "UN email tax"-compliant MTA's? Riiiight. What if I don't want to install the UN compliant MTA on my mail server? Do I have to pay the tax when a cron job on my system mails me a log file? Only when it's to another user? Only when it's to a user on another server?

    2. Personally, I don't use email much. ICQ is so much more efficient for most things. Anyway, the bandwidth I suck up from playing Quake in one day is probably more bandwidth than all my email uses in a month. Taxing only email makes no sense.

    3. The last thing we need is another pork barrel UN program where the local 3rd World dictator takes all the money from the UN that's supposed to go towards 'net access for all the little 3rd World children, and instead puts it in his Swiss bank account.

    Get fragged @ Lone Star Quake II

  • Reminds me of a time on a Simpsons episode where Frank Grimes was commenting to Homer that he was lazy, stupid, and represented everything that was wrong with america. He also said that if he had lived in any other country in the world he would have starved to death long ago.
  • Ok, so, granted it's all theoretical, etc.

    Still, the tax proposed here is ridiculously high. I just checked my stats for the past two months at home, and I've averaged about 200mb/day. This tax proposes one cent per megabyte, which works out to $60/month. I pay $50/month for my cable internet access, so this would be a 120% tax! Ouch.


  • The middle class in any country isn't who needs assistance. If the middle class is growing thats great.

    It may be the result of biased North American media, but the general perception here is that a lot of people in what are termed third world countries are living in abject poverty. I'm not talking about commercials by for-profit charities which make a living by dribbling out pennies for every dollar contributed.

    A lot of the people I've met who are from these countries would disagree that there is a large middle class.
  • The first thing I thought of when I read about this issue is the proverbial "nose of the camel". I was pleased to see that the first few messages to scroll across my screen had already nailed the issue. :)

    But, at the risk of being moderated down for redundancy, I'll add my spin...

    Once people are used to thinking about a *tiny tax* for a *good cause* the battle is lost. After that, there will be no single event left (the introduction of internet taxes) to focus the resistance.

    Once you concede the principle, all that is left is to haggle over the price.
  • this reminds me, the USPS has recently decided that quasi-anonymous mailboxes (like MailBoxes, Etc) are bad, and that starting *this fall* all users of such mailboxes are required to: present two forms of identification with your real physical address, update this information quarterly, and also place a bogus 'PMB' on your mailbox address - or they won't deliver it.

    This is big-brotherism at it's best. Screws over: battered wives hiding from their ex-husbands, people who don't *have* a fixed address (boat-people), and misanthropes like me who just don't like giving their physical address to just anyone.
  • Somehow the majority of Slashdot posters have gotten this notion of the grand individual and their right to non-intereference into their heads. Civilization as we know it is an immense social effort. National governments, international bodies, other organizations, societies are not some kind of disease, they arose through necessity. The Jesse Helmsian mindset is very irritating.

    Soon the repubs will run this country to the ground with their isolationism and anti-social(istic) efforts. Like a competing species of fungii, when one population dies, others will flourish with the nutrients available. We can choose to go along with the other countries by helping them now, or we can fall by the wayside. Don't depend on the bubble to sustain this country, another Reagan is enough to run it to the ground again.

    One of the 4 elements of a super-power is the diplomacy - that's relations with other countries.

  • Oh get a grip, we're talking about e-mail, not http or ftp. Seriously if you send out 200mb of email a day I feel very sorry for your recipients. Though I do think that subscription emails should be except as they generally are providing you with a free service (the ones that add a add to them maby shouldn't be except as they make more than cent a piece). Seriously how many e-mails do you send out a day. This tax would be trivial and could simply be a smtp counter on your ppp account that adds a few pennies to your bill. (note this amount should NOT become public record and should be on a honor system that the dialups/cable services should pay)
  • The part of this that bothers me the most isn't even financial or tied to free-flow-of-information issues. It's the possible ruin of the beautiful simplicity of email as it is right now. Now, email is a built in capability of any unix installation at a nice low level. A simple, small, time tested bulletproof gem of a program (sendmail) routes it around with beautiful simplicity. It works across intranets and the internet with very little maintanence at all. I like that.

    With any kind of proposed restriction, like a tax, suddenly you need this huge, high maintanence infrastructure in place just to take a very little amount from each person (probably under a buck a year). ANd from a tax system like this, more restrictions would naturally follow - it would be a crime to send a message that does not end up being recorded for tax purposes. And what do you do about anonymous email (things sent through cypherpunks and mixmaster remailers)? Administrators would have to keep detailed logs and send them to washington.

    In short, the simple, functional, utilitarian beauty of electronic mail would be gone forever. :-(
  • by The Ancient Geek ( 67131 ) on Tuesday July 13, 1999 @06:26PM (#1804364)
    I don't know whether to laugh or cry. And I don't know which is worse--that the U.N. proposed this silliness; or that Wired, Slashdot, and all the Slashdot netizens missed the absolutely glaring error in the proposal.

    Ms. Kate Raworth projects that this 1-cent per hundred "lengthy" Emails (not just any Email, but "lengthy" E-mails) would have raised $70 billion in the U.S. alone in 1996.

    DO THE MATH!!!!!

    That's 700,000,000,000,000 (7.0e14) Email messages. Seven hundred trillion Email messages. Figure the U.S. population as 245 million--that would mean that every man, woman, and child in the U.S. sent a "lengthy" Email every 11 seconds for the entire year. Oh--and only 15% of the U.S. population had access to Email, in any form, in 1996.

    This U.N. economist pulled a cockamamy number completely out of thin air, and everybody has bought it. The U.N. bought it; Oxford University Press (who actually published the report) bought it; Wired magazine bought it. I fully expect that the mainstream Web media will buy it next, and sometime around the end of the week it will make the New York Times.

    We don't need to sweat this. Instead, we should take up a collection to send this idiot to Math Camp for the summer.
  • Does the Third World want alms?

    In the beginning, when aid was first suggested all the African leaders said no, we don't want alms, we want equal rights.

    Rights to What?

    Rights to sell their goods in any country without barriers. Rights to own their own resources and letting those who pay the most exploit them. Rights to the same information as any others.

    Today we see the results of alms, people lining their own pockets, totally inadequate systems of distribution. The alms have prolonged the misery of the nations receiving it. They have even indebted them! Because not all 'help' is free, because much 'help' require deals which benefits the economy of the giver (i.e. buy this stuff from this company), because 'help' needs 'advisors' which come from the givers country.

    It is in fact a system which is much akin to a company town (like those in the US of A). You get your money in company dollars which has to be spent in company stores. You can get tools to do the job, but they are paid via debts to the company, and you have to buy support from the company.

    The worst ones are the local ones?

    After all that is said and done, it is infact the dictators who where the worst. They imprisoned their people and spent their money, BUT with the blessing of the US, and the USSR. The Phillipines has been a loyal US supporter. Singapore could invade East Timor without protests from the US, because the US needed a deep strait for their subs. Different communist dictators have of course had their support from Moscow.

    You have to step back, gang, take a look at the whole picture. See what makes the world economy tick, see what makes the world politic tick, and see why it's so damned wrong.

The IQ of the group is the lowest IQ of a member of the group divided by the number of people in the group.