Andrew Breese

Musings of a professional geek

UN desires to Tax the Internet, ffs.

Grumble, rant… You’d think it was April 1st. As reported recently by the Register there is a plan to try to tax the traffic used by the Internet. What in blazes? Why? Wha?

I have no idea what else could be the purpose of this tax, and given most countries already have many taxes (like personal income tax, resources tax, luxuries tax, payroll tax, even a tax on making a good investment in land), putting an additional cost to the ISPs, which will be passed to the consumer is plainly greedy. It feels like a bland and obvious money grab.

The beating will continue until morale improves.

Some taxes might have a valid argument, say a (groan) carbon tax to help save the environment. Given how much money the environment has been making its only fair that it carries it’s weight for a change. Its a slacker. Oh, but the Internet has been around for a while too, and it even had the audacity to be involved in Facebook’s recent rapid statement of worthlessness (buying FB stock was in my opinion a worse choice that a handful of magic beans) so we should make the Internet bail out the crumbling economies, with something that everyone loves – Taxes.*

It is not like data isn’t the backbone of most commerce, and applying a tax to something which is so variable is very fair – when you don’t bother to think about it.*

The taxes will continue until the economy improves

After reading and trying to find reason – it is real, although not clearly or as straight as it is initially implied – basically it is a mess. Security and poverty are being used as a lever for revenue, at the expense of the end user. Somewhere in the convoluted mix of arguments is privacy and the user’s rights, but in reading the cross-linked articles I found that both sides of the argument are apparently using this as part of the basis.

So be aware that something so backward is still possible, and being talked about by people we pay for with our taxes. In the end it comes down to: data can be measured, and therefore it should be taxed.

We have taxed land, water, foodstuffs, entertainment, and almost everything else. It is time for everyone to roll over and take this gracefully. Tax our internet, and then please tax oxygen too – we’ve been getting that for free too for far too long.*

We could tax internal traffic too. All the traffic between your laptop and desktop at home, or on the internal network, or even the personal notes that your write on the fridge for your wife, kids, or servants…**

* these paragraphs are sarcastic.

** If you don’t have servants then you’re probably not wealthy enough or have your head sufficiently rammed backwards inside yourself, and therefore won’t understand why this tax is so great.

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