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UN To Debate Taxing Internet Data

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the funding-a-military-on-cat-pictures-alone dept.

Censorship 284

Wowsers writes "In an effort to get ever more taxes for doing absolutely nothing, the United Nations will 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 requirements could be forced off the internet due to the taxes. 'The sender-pays framework would likely prompt U.S.-based Internet services to reject connections from users in developing countries, who would become unaffordably expensive to communicate with, predicts Robert Pepper, Cisco's vice president for global technology policy.'"

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My God (5, Insightful)

killmenow (184444) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255717)

Could politicians be more daft?

Re:My God (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255793)

They might consider tax on major car makers for using public roads

Re:My God (5, Informative)

lordholm (649770) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255795)

The proposal is not written by european politicians, but rather by a an interest organization for european telecom operators.

Re:My God (0)

Sarius64 (880298) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255823)

Because Congresses of the world all normally write their own legislation. :)

Re:My God (4, Informative)

baturcotte (717233) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255805)

Except that this isn't coming from the politicians...the proposal is the brainchild of European telecom companies, who are looking to make a cash grab because their uses are getting to high bandwidth US sites. Of course, I am amused how secret ITU treaty negotiations are bad when they negatively affect US companies, but how secret ACTA treaty negotiations are good when they protect US companies...

Re:My God (4, Informative)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255905)

Of course, I am amused how secret ITU treaty negotiations are bad when they negatively affect US companies, but how secret ACTA treaty negotiations are good when they protect US companies...

I don't find that to be the prevailing opinion on Slashdot at all - I see very little defense of the ACTA treaty at all, let alone the secret negotiations.

Re:My God (1)

killmenow (184444) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255951)

I realize who wrote it. The daft politicians part comes in where it says "The United Nations is considering a new Internet tax..."

I'm starting to think if I wrote a proposal that everybody kiss my butt, I could get the UN to consider it.

Re:My God (2)

rufty_tufty (888596) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255907)

Why not tax the data sent across the LAN after all what is so special about internet data?
What is so special about the LAN? What about data sent across internal busses? (after all USB could be compared to a network)
So why not just tax CPU and memory access directly?
You think I might have gone to far here?

Re:My God (1)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255921)

"daft" - Makes me think of Looney Tunes

Re:My God (4, Insightful)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256007)

explain it this way, they're already taxed on that.

It's through electricity. Data is just structured electricity. They pay taxes on that already.

Re:My God (2)

mikael (484) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256317)

Ftom their viewpoint it's perfectly logical.
Many networks are state owned, and derive profits from long distance and international calls to balance their budgets and sudsidize local land lines.

All of s sudden, everyone starts using Skype and other video services to talk to each other, which eats into their profit margins. Some Canadian companies trief turning standard smartphone applications like Skype into value-added extras by offdring "Skype minutes.".

This is their way of trying again to restore profit margins.

Re:My God (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40256445)

Yes they can...just look at the good ole USA...daft doesn't really begin to describe what these yahoos are doing on Capital Hill...

UN always looking to one up itself in stupidity... (1)

RichMeatyTaste (519596) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255723)

One would hope that all US political parties can come together against this idea....

Re:UN always looking to one up itself in stupidity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255755)

Believe it or not, they can.
[cnet] []

Re:UN always looking to one up itself in stupidity (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255813)

LOL! If only they could put aside all their differences!


Re:UN always looking to one up itself in stupidity (3, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255981)

I'm just amazed they found a situation where the conservative canard "If you want less of something, tax it" is actually accurate and relevant. The internet should be subsidized, not taxed. You'll get it all back from an improved economy.

"...all US political parties..." (1)

killmenow (184444) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256111)

All one of them?

Re:UN always looking to one up itself in stupidity (0)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256463)

They should come together against the US.

Americans are "used to" the UN and don't realise that it's merely a corrupt money sink which does nothing good.

Membership is a renunciation of national sovereignty, which for the short bus crowd means "a renunciation of YOUR vote in favor of that of foreign governments".

Give it some thought to see if YOU are made FREER by this arrangement.

Not again! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255735)

What??? The UN wants to impose yet another tax on red-blooded, patriotic 'muricans? Just like all the others they...

Oh. Never mind.

Net Neutrality (5, Insightful)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255739)

Taxes on services will just shut out the small guys. The internet isn't just for commerce (or just porn), it's for a ton of other things. The principle of Net Neutrality ensures equal bandwidth for all. This tax would just require profitability, when many sites barely run even.

agreed. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255821)

the majority of the real economy is small and medium business.

taxes, regulations, and bureaucratic nonsense destroy small and medium business, while giving government and large corporations total advantage, in fact they are working together. in this way, the big dogs get to buy up, or remove all the small fish.

and what do democrats and republicans do? they keep doing the same thing.

regulate and tax the real economy to death.

while ensuring their own survival and their corporate owners.

and if you think voting Democrat is going to address this, you're a fucking moron.

if you think MORE regulation, and more taxes, is going to fix this, you're a fucking moron.

Re:agreed. (4, Funny)

zill (1690130) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255839)

That's quite a lot of text you just sent. Are you sure you can afford the bandwidth tax on that?

Re:agreed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40256153)


Re:agreed. (1)

killmenow (184444) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256181)

Sadly, it was sent anonymously. So we'll have to foot the bill and cover the taxes on it...stupid internet freeloader ACs!!!

Re:Net Neutrality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255887)

The internet isn't just for ... porn

Shame on you! How dare you say such a thing!

Re:Net Neutrality (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255915)

Mod up!

Re:Net Neutrality (3, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256201)

Maybe that's the point. Shut out the FOSS community to do away with the competition. I'm sure many companies would be in favor of this. It's the whole pay more now in taxes, earn a lot more revenue later.

Re:Net Neutrality (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256459)

Net neutrality does not exist as far as I am aware in any country

There is no recognised right to the Internet

You can only Tax what makes money, FOSS would be largely untaxed ...

WTF? (0)

martiniturbide (1203660) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255741)


Mod summary as insightful (5, Informative)

howardd21 (1001567) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255743)

"In an effort to get ever more taxes for doing absolutely nothing"

That is the most insightful summary...ever

Re:Mod summary as insightful (4, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256011)

Yeah, why don't they do something useful like eradicating smallpox?

Re:Mod summary as insightful (5, Insightful)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256053)

The UN do a lot, and some of it is actually useful. My beef with the UN, and with pretty much every government ever, is that they are always seeking to extend their span of control beyond what can be considered reasonable, in terms of power, influence, money and taxation. But in democratic nations, government is held in check at least to some degree by its constituents. The problem with the UN (and the EU for that matter) is that there is pretty much no control over what they do. UN-crats and Eurocrats are not held in check by the mandate of their voters, nor by voters in the countries they represent, but only by their colleagues. If a majority of them agrees to something that is opposed by all of the people they are supposed to represent, it will still pass. And what politician will say no to a chance to extend their influence, or an opportunity to take a big wet bite out of some fat cat overseas company's profits?

I really fail to see why the UN or Europe (or anyone else) should be entitled to part of Google's profits. Because they use our infrastructure to make money? For "the privilege of serving non-U.S. users"? That privilege works both ways, and I as a European am (and should be) grateful for the privilege of having so many useful US-based services at my fingertips. I might also add that this infrastructure has already been paid for, by my monthly subscription fees and plenty of public money.

Of course, saying that there is no good reason to tax Google is naïve... they will tax Google because they can, and come up with a good reason. Something along the lines of: "revenues from this internet tax will be applied towards building infrastructure in underdeveloped regions". Enter the Telcos, who are eager to get a nice cut of the job of building that infrastructure. Probably why their lobbyists came up with this proposal in the first place.

Re:Mod summary as insightful (1)

Megane (129182) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256315)

UN-crats and Eurocrats are not held in check by the mandate of their voters

We* vote for UN-crats? I must have missed that bit when I was at the ballot box.

*for any value of "we" that consists of regular citizens, but in my case US citizens

Yet another remedy (1, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255763)

The reason Google, Netflix, and the like don't already pay enormous amounts of taxes is because old tax laws have been riddled with loopholes. Legislators try to fix this by adding new taxes, because it's easier to make new laws than revise old ones.

Re:Yet another remedy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255797)

Short of fraud there are no tax loopholes. Every single mechanism to reduce your tax burden was specifically created for a purpose. This doesn't mean that tax laws should not be changed to reduce or remove these mechanism, just that referring to them as "loopholes" makes it seem as if they were not intentionally created.

Re:Yet another remedy (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255903)

Often enough, the intent is not being honored. That is why they are loopholes, the letter may be followed, but not the spirit.

For example, the tax benefits of buying X, might be great enough that X is bought just to flush down a toilet rather than use it.

Re:Yet another remedy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255975)

AC@0:091 here: Oh, yeah X. I buy it all the time. [citation needed] on the claim that there are tax benefits that pay more than the cost of that which it incentivizes (outside of fraud.)

Re:Yet another remedy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40256447)

Sorry dude, I just didn't want to get into an argument over it.

Still don't, but you can find examples in the various right-wing anti-subsidy screeds.

Yeah, they like tax cuts so much they need to call the same thing a subsidy when they don't like it.

Re:Yet another remedy (3, Informative)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256165)

Exactly. The mechanism is not the loophole, but the abuse is.

Transferring your money to a different part of the same company? That shouldn't be taxed.

Your company's expenses were the same as its income, so you had no profits? That shouldn't be taxed.

Most of your profits are made in a country with low tax rates? That should be taxed, but only at the low rate.

Put them together with a hefty helping of accounting mayonnaise, and you have a Double Irish and Dutch Sandwich arrangement, a fully-legal loophole. Properly pulling it off requires at least four companies in three nations, so it's not something the average person can do in its entirety.

I personally, however, have made use of several of the provisions that make it work, so I won't claim I'm against any single part. I've transferred money to (and from) a business of my own, being happy not to face taxes on every transfer. I've moved money to a country with practically no taxes, because I was living there.

Re:Yet another remedy (2)

locofungus (179280) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256187)

just that referring to them as "loopholes" makes it seem as if they were not intentionally created.

Often it's more a case that a tax exemption was created to cover a particular (reasonable) case but actually ends up including people who probably weren't intended to be included. It's a "loophole" when the non-intended beneficiaries use the tax exemption.

Of course, it also goes the other way. Extra taxes are created to catch some people who are "unnecessarily benefiting" but also end up hitting those who didn't deserve it.

I'm not sure there's a simple solution to any of this but politicians seem to delight in making systems complicated and "the people" seem to demand that the politicians make it more complicated[1]

My requirement for a fair system (and the UK tax system isn't fair under this model) is that the tax rate on X should be a monotonically increasing function of the size of X. e.g. if we're talking about income tax then the rate of income tax for someone earning X should always be less than or equal to someone earning X+Y for all positive values of Y

[1] For example, in the UK we have something called child benefit that is paid to the mother of every child. This was an untaxed, non-means tested benefit. The public (the daily wail) complained that it wasn't fair that someone earning 50000 a year should be getting this allowance so now it's become means tested. But despite the fact that we have individual taxation in the UK the father (husband?) is taxed if his income is too high even though it goes to the mother. Also we have the situation where a couple each earning 50000 (or whatever the limit is) still get child benefit while a family where one earns 60000 and the other earns 5000 don't get it.

So we've gone from a benefit that was near universally claimed, hard to defraud and easy to understand to something that is possible to defraud, that defrauding can be innocent (especially in the case of estranged couples where each may assume that the other is dealing with it or may deliberately engineer things to try and drop the other party in it), and difficult to know whether you are entitled or not, especially if your income is very variable.

If there was a politician with an IQ in positive figures then they'd have just put a penny on the higher rate of tax. 15 or 20 years later when the next generation is along they can also rinse, lather and repeat.


a tax loophole example (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40256199) [] describes one example of a current (and recently introduced) tax loophole.

Short summary: tax credit introduced to increase funding for scholarships to get needy students in to private schooles uses the word "enrolled" instead of "attending" ... and now wealthy families already sending their kids to a private school can "enroll" their kids in public schools so that the private school can reduce their own kids' tuition by the amount of the tax credit.

That is a tax loophole which was not intentionally created.

Already payed for. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255765)

I pay for my connection. Facebook, et al pay for their connection. Shouldn't be anything besides this.

Re:Already payed for. (3, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256031)

I pay for my connection. Facebook, et al pay for their connection. Shouldn't be anything besides this.

The problem is who pays the middle man who connects you and Facebook?
In particular, international cables aren't exactly cheap, and someone has to foot the bill.

Up until now, the problem has been amiably solved by the ISPs and hosting providers billing you extra to pay their carriers, who in turn enter peering agreements and pay each other based on how much data flows. This really only works well when there is a bidirectional flow - in some cases where data mainly flows one way, this becomes a bit drain on one end and a money drain on the other. Instead of having to cut the line as unprofitable, and leave customers without a connection, the ISPs look for alternative solutions.

An internet tax might not be the best idea, but there may be something to this being a social problem -- a resource that's now almost as important as food, housing and water might (from a European perspective) need some kind of legislation to ensure availability even for those who live at the wrong end of the water tube. How this is ensured, without it just being an excuse to fatten telco execs and shareholders, is a problem. I'm quite sure that the proposed bit tax is one of the worst ways to try to fix this.

Enforced peering might be a better solution, but some of the biggest players are going to do what they can to stop that, because it cuts into their revenue stream and promotes competition by rewarding small players instead of monopolies and oligopolies.

Re:Already payed for. (1)

cob666 (656740) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256487)

The proposed tax is comparable to the US Government taxing Ford for all of their cars on interstate highways.

Re:Already payed for. (2)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256493)

The answer to your first question is ISP. They charge you, you pay. pretty simple really.

Wtf are the taxes for?

Hoax? (3, Insightful)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255769)

The UN don't get their money from (directly) taxing companies or people. The member states pay.

Re:Hoax? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255893)

And who do you think the member states are going to get that money from?

Re:Hoax? (3, Insightful)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255957)

Sure, I know my country makes me pay tax. TFA says (in the title) that the UN itself is gonna tax websites. I don't believe it.

It sounds more like an EU plan to screw some US based companies in favor of European companies. Trade barriers are very common, and both sides of the atlantic use that to strengthen its own economy.

Re:Hoax? (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256129)

I read the article and the linked documents and the whole article seems to be trolling-- I think the Republica. they interviewed whispered sweet black helicopter nothings into cnet's ears and they decided to run with it.

Nowhere in the leaked documents does it say the UN will tax anything, or that member states are obliged to tax anything. All it basically says is that it wants to make sure the ITU regs affirm sovereign state's right to tax Internet traffic, and the rights of operators to negotiate their own peering deals, and that that the way peering deals remunerate should be based on the principle of "sender pays."

So much bullshit.

Re:Hoax? (1)

kanto (1851816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256197)

The UN don't get their money from (directly) taxing companies or people. The member states pay.

It's the usual FUD; basically people with no actual power saying things like "tax the rich" and conservatives in the US taking out extra orders for batshit crazy.

Free Hardware, Free Software and Free Bandwidth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255773)

All of these are needed more than ever and certianly not the other way around.

Hands off, Europe! (4, Funny)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255783)

Fund your failed economy some other way.

Austerity and bailouts only prolong the suffering.

Re:Hands off, Europe! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255877)


will someone write europe a blank check? (-1, Troll)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255787)

seriously, the whole worthless continent is about to declare bankruptcy. its shocking considering that the July/August vacation months are coming up and half the countries there literally shut down for 2 months.

isnt it time the europeans started another war with each other? its been over 60 years. maybe this time we can change sides again and have the brits fighting the french again

Re:will someone write europe a blank check? (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256071)

Actually with Spain now saying there needs to be tighter Eurozone integration, it looks like Germany will finally take over Europe.

Re:Germany will finally take over Europe (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256363)

Is that six degrees from Godwinning the thread?

Actually about anonymous proxies? (1)

Pond823 (643768) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255829)

Would a knock-on effect be to cause great harm to web proxies used by people to circumvent state and corporate censorship, as well a download pirated stuff?

Dear UN, please send a boat to retrieve your taxes (4, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255835)

. . . and anchor it in Boston Harbor. Your Internet taxes can be loaded the next morning, after your tea has been delivered.

how on earth do they plan to do that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255843)

Each and every one of those sites can claim that the amount of generated traffic is relative (and it actually is!) to the end user, they would have to scrap net neutrality and be able to individualize each users amount of data or the like!!?? I don't think it can be done, I just comes to show how useless this organizations really can be

The Unnnnnn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255845)

I wish the Unnnn would get back to doing the things that it was good at, like defeating Charlie Chaplin and the Nazis with dinosaurs.

Because otherwise, with all these recent "ideas" they've been coming up with, they just look idiocratic. And I honestly believe we have no need for any more morons on the planet.

Re:The Unnnnnn (1)

MarkGriz (520778) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255913)

Unfortunately, this *IS* what the UN are good at.

Re:The Unnnnnn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40256039)

It seems they're seeing a disproportionate number of internet hosts in the US [] and want to find a way to break it up. The US has almost half.

taxing (2)

doomdoomdoom (2640917) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255847)

I often find internet data taxing

And people wonder why the US holds it so tightly (5, Insightful)

Schezar (249629) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255861)

While unlikely (hopefully) to pass, this sort if thing is exactly the reason the United States has been so reluctant to give up its nominal control of the Internet's architecture, nevermind why so many technologists are tacitly OK with the US's continued dominance.

The nations of the world, given equal weight, err toward censorship, and many regimes with UN votes have deeply vested interests in clamping down on the extraordinary free-for-all of information exchange that the current Internet provides. I for one want the United Nations to have no role at this level, and both hope and expect the US to refuse ratification should it actually come to pass.

Re:And people wonder why the US holds it so tightl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40256001)

This is what the US thinks of the UN: "The U what? Go fuck yourselves."

Re:And people wonder why the US holds it so tightl (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256269)

Keep your friends close. Keep your enemies closer.

Re:And people wonder why the US holds it so tightl (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256023)

The US is no longer the bastion of freedom it was.

Re:And people wonder why the US holds it so tightl (5, Insightful)

webheaded (997188) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256337)

And yet it's still the best option. No seriously though...I'm not saying this as "I AM AN AMURICAN" but moreso as...look at the shit the rest of your countries do with it. We have certainly fallen a long way, but the freedom of speech is still the most sacred right here and that affects things in a way that is very beneficial to the internet...even if we do fuck up sometimes. The thing is...our fuck ups seem small in comparison to the things that the nations of the UN would want to do. As the GP said...they tend to err toward censorship and the one thing I can still be proud of my country for is that they have an almost mindlessly addicted devotion to free speech.

Re:And people wonder why the US holds it so tightl (2)

Megane (129182) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256341)

The UN is no longer the bastion of freedom it never was anyhow.

Re:And people wonder why the US holds it so tightl (1)

Fuck_this_place (2652095) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256377)

Speaking of censorship, have you tried watching US television lately? That particular point does not stand well. Not only do they censor the 'bad' stuff, they will flat out butcher movies just so they can advertise even more, cutting parts they have no business touching. Nothing is sacred to them.

Here's a globalist authoritarian idea ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255879)

Let's assign everyone a unique ID number required for all internet activity. Let's also monitor everyone's entire browsing history, every social engineering website, every email & tweet & blog posting. Then finally, let's tax everyone for the bandwidth they consume, above and beyond ISP charges & state & local taxes. Don't worry that the people that your on-line freedoms are being destroyed by, and have contrived to destroy economies by way of carbon credit taxes, want another revenue stream based upon the bandwidth you consume.

Let's kill the internet. It's being used way too much by alternative media that speaks truth to power, and is used to organize resistance to the globalists' authoritarian agendas. And while we are busy killing the internet, let's bleed away the users' limited funds to the international banksters.

Still think that Cloud-based applications & Cloud-based data storage is such a great idea? Suckers!

UN makes tax laws now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255897)

Crush it like a republican tax hunter.

Seriously... (1)

hey_popey (1285712) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255919)

Does anyone have a non US-biased source about this UN proposal? I couldn't find anything on a European Google News.
The sensationalistic headline of TFA, without any actual numbers regarding this potential tax leaves me puzzled.
Don't get me wrong, I am all for net neutrality, but jumping from an article with two "work in progress" leaked documents to companies running out of business is a big leap!

Re:Seriously... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255983)

Everything is a work in progress til it passes and with the trend of not telling what's in it til it passes, I don't want work in progress at all til its done, and have something concrete and vieewable well before any voting is done on it.

Re:Seriously... (1)

lexa1979 (2020026) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256521)

uh... I've read the 2 documents, and couldn't find a reference about taxing the data... It looks more like a declaration of good intentions about intercommunication between telecom companies... more like a QA procedure... someone must have smoked something while writing TFA. I 'll sleep correctly tonight, I'm not going to pay anything more because I host my own services at home. just plain shit. or, is it bull shit ?

Article Doesn't Add Up (5, Informative)

rssc (898025) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255979)

I actually read the linked article and also skimmed through the leaked documents. I really can't find the things that the article is claiming are in there. From what I can make out, the leaked documents talk about taxes when billing telecommunication across borders (e.g., to prevent taxing services twice), like mobile phone roaming. How the article claims that this is about taxing large companies like Google and stuff is really beyond me. Can anybody point me to the part where it says that?

The whole article just seems inflammatory and some kind of anti-UN, anti-European reflex. I suppose mission accomplished, the knee-jerk reactions are already pouring in...

upside (1, Troll)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256013)

If the tax were at a very low rate (say a 1/10 penny per megabyte) it wouldn't affect most users much. Suppose though that you taxed email at 1 cent per addressee? That wouldn't affect normal users much but would cost junk emailers enough that many untargeted junk emails would be stopped. But administering a monitoring and collection system for internet usage taxes would be expensive. I don't think I wanted the government in the middle of every transaction.

Re:upside (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40256089)

Nope. They'd just use hijacked accounts and carry on at someone else's expense.

Re:upside (2)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256143)

I'd never pay a U.N. based tax, and I'd make damn sure no US politicians who were stupid enough to suggest that the US become a signatory of this proposed amendment ever gets reelected. I'm pretty sure most other US citizens feel the same way. We're quite sensitive about the whole taxation without representation thing.

Re:upside (1)

colinnwn (677715) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256149)

That is a hugely expensive tax. Currently the cost to transmit a gigabyte is around 10 cents. There are 1,024 megs in a gig. So a 1/10 cent tax per meg would mean $1.02 in taxes per gig, or ten times the cost of service. Also, I understand that it used to be much more expensive to communicate (stamp and mail), and a 1 cent per email tax would be cheap for personal uses. But legitimate businesses who send hundreds of millions of requested emails (advertising to shopping club members, notification of bills ready to be paid, local governments notifying citizens of community events/news) would find that tax incredibly expensive, and greatly reduce their communication that customers have requested. That's not an (internet) world I'd want to live in. I like my almost free communication, and the problem seems solved. Google keeps almost all SPAM out of my email box.

Re:upside (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40256177)

If you tax at ANY rate, you have to also put in place the infrastructure to measure it, and attach usage to an identification of who has to pay for it. If you charge for emails, you must track all emails and have sufficient authorization to count addressees. Furthermore, I can setup a sendmail server on my laptop and start sending mail here and there, connected to unsecured wireless APs. Depending on where you place that tracking infrastructure, you either run the risk of me bankrupting my neighbors by sending a few thousand emails to a few thousand bogus email accounts, or you somehow demand that we inject tracking into every mail server possible.

I'm sure you can see why this rapidly becomes idiotic.

Moron! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40256185)


An upside? You submit yourself to going along with this like cattle when there is no reason. All that it takes is for you to disagree. That is all. But you sit here, nod your head, and say, "Well, maybe it's not so bad," as you have your anus pummeled by politicians in every facet of life. YOU are the reason that stuff like this is ever passed.
Think twice...if you're even capable of that.

Re:upside (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256347)

And if my friend and I both have email servers set up at home and we want to send each other a message, how much does it cost and who tracks that? What if we use a different port? What if we encrypt the data and do it over port 443. Is it delivery to port 25 that's taxed? If email is taxed, then all my friends drop email and move to Facebook messaging (is that taxed?). I'd probably set up a jabber server for good friends and family.

government has open policy when (1)

KingBenny (1301797) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256021)

you live 30 km from brussels but you have to read that shit here first, this looks like its evil beyond soapy anc acta, especially the part where , like, EVERYTHING gets throttled

Here's hoping history repeats itself. (1)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256035)

This isn't the first time that a U.N. agency will consider the idea of Internet taxes. In 1999, a report from the United Nations Development Program proposed Internet e-mail taxes to help developing nations, suggesting that an appropriate amount would be the equivalent of one penny on every 100 e-mails that an individual might send. But the agency backed away from the idea a few days later.

They've tried once and failed, lets hope they fail again.

The bright side. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40256057)

The only possible good outcome i could see if this actually happened would be.... All my online games wouldn't be filled with LAGGY ASS FORIGENERS!

Which would be very fucking nice for a change.

Even when they have their own servers in their own geographic areas. They still come to usa servers to cheat, exploit, and lag. And they don't give up or take no for an answer.

I recall blocking 90% of the world to keep the damm russians and their cheats out of my unreal server.

So i ALMOST want the UN to win this one.

Re:The bright side. (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256371)

This is kind of a dumb comment, but servers could easily group players by ping time if they wanted to.

This is completely idiotic (1)

C_Kode (102755) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256061)

If you tax someone, it should be the consumers of data. Google sends no data unless the consumer requests it. Of course, the consumers already pay for their bandwidth. (which is why I think charging for tethering is a complete ripoff. That is double charging for the bandwidth already paid for)

Better Censorship through Taxation (1)

sir-gold (949031) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256073)

The end result of this is that US websites would just block EU users entirely, and US ISPs would stop allowing their users to connect to EU sites (the ISP would have to pay the taxes)

This might be prove to be a form of censorship even more effective than the great firewall of china. Companies WANT to break through the Chinese firewall, but will do absolutely anything just to avoid taxes.

Don't you love it when..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40256105)

All of these left leaning people cry out for more gov't regulations and taxes for corporations and are now yelling bloody murder about this. Now why are THEY so pissed off? Perhaps if these taxes come to life the corporations are just going to pass this cost to the end-users AND NOW THEY CAN PERCEIVE THE ACTUAL COST OF TAXES AND SEE IT ON THEIR BILL. PEOPLE - CORPORATIONS DO NOT PAY TAXES OR THE COST OF REGULATION. THEY JUST PASS THE COST TO THE CUSTOMER, REDUCE THEIR MARGINS(if they can), CUT EXPENSES(jobs) OR THEY GO OUT OF BUSINESS.

The irony is fantastic.

dear low IQ partisan assholes: (1, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256125)

The UN is deeply flawed.

Even deeply flawed, the world is a better place for it.

If you don't understand that, you don't understand enough of international affairs to comment intelligently on the subject matter.


Re:dear low IQ partisan assholes: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40256229)

The US is deeply flawed.

Even deeply flawed, the world is a better place for it.

If you don't understand that, you don't understand enough of international affairs to comment intelligently on the subject matter.


My God (1)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256145)

Is it April Fool's already?

Money Grab... (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256147)

While I understand that telcos are money-grubbing little fuckers who would sell their own family for a plug nickel, I am honestly baffled at how frequently this 'zOMG high-bandwidth sites are terrifying parasites who are getting a free ride!!!' comes up, and even seems to be treated as reasonable.

It's not hard: For Company A and Customer B to exchange data across the magic intertubes, Company A is paying(probably rather a lot, albeit at favorable per-megabyte rates) for upstream bandwidth and Customer B is paying (probably rather less; but at usurious per-megabyte rates) for downstream bandwidth. There isn't any magic free-riding going on. In fact, by offering attractive and data-heavy services, Company A is doing ISPs a favor; by making their otherwise rather unexciting product highly desirable to Customer B.

I can understand that there might be occasional spats about peering between the big backbone guys; but the claim that internet companies are somehow 'free-riding' on the poor, downtrodden ISPs is laughably absurd. They certainly don't get their upstream pipes for free, and their customers definitely pay for the connection that they use to download. I have to wonder what color the sky is in the world of ISPs who have the temerity to attack their greatest benefactors, the people who provide stuff that the public wants so much that they'll buy bandwidth to get it....

Tax it all (1)

halfkoreanamerican (2566687) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256287)

And while we're at it, why stop with just data... sure it's tough to see it, but it can be measured so it can be taxed. Let's tax the air that we breathe too... I mean, that guy who lives next to me weighs about 350 pounds, I know he's using more air than the average person does... so he should pay.

Kill my competitors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40256325)

I guess I can kill off any competing websites by sending them lots of bandwidth-heavy traffic.

Of course the UN wants to tax people (1)

judoguy (534886) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256335)

Government exists to consume resources. The UN (and all its associated groups) is a form of government.

By the way, all you "tax the internet vendors for fairness" people are all wrong.

For fairness, get rid of local sales taxes to help the brick and mortar guys and the rest of us. Quit looking for ways to jack up taxes.

Dont tax Data, tax IP. (4, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256471)

IP and in Intellectual Property.

If the REcord companies claim that song is worth trillions in a law suit, ASK them where the Back taxes are on those Trillions. Software,Music,Movies,Books. Tax the stated "value" of them.

This fixes two things. 1 - Added revenue for the EU. 2 - stops ridiculousness in claims for Copyright Infringement. The company cant dare to claim $6500.00 per share of a song if they will be taxed at the new rate for it. Suddenly it fixes a legal and a financial problem overnight. They can stop paying Taxes on a piece of I.P. as soon as they release it as public domain. So old abandonware games, Old music music and old movies, will get released and not horded for no reason.

In other news... (2)

TemporalBeing (803363) | more than 2 years ago | (#40256479)

The UN is looking for a source of funding other than the US Government, because if the US Government pulled out of the UN it would go bankrupt and implode financially.
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