Feeds

UN proposes email tax

14 July 1999

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

It was five years ago today... A tax on email to improve the lot of those less fortunate than ourselves? It's either a very bright idea or the product of some seriously fantasist thinking:

UN proposes email tax

By Tony Smith
Published Wednesday 14th July 1999 11:46 GMT

The United Nations wants email users to subsidise the extension of the Internet to Third World countries, according to a report released by the UN Development Programme earlier this week.

Essentially, the report calls on governments to introduce legislation that would require Net users to pay a tax of one US cent on every 100 emails they send. Such is the volume of email that, had such a scheme been introduced in 1996, it would have generated $70 billion in that year alone. Given the quantity of spam we're now all being subjected to, the mind boggles at how much revenue would be generated now.

Whatever funds were generated, however, it would be enough to give developing countries the help they need to catch up with developed nations and so "offset inequalities in the global community", as the report puts it. A worthy goal, for sure, but we can't help wondering whether the real winners here would be the telecoms companies who would be contracted to create all these extra connections.

However, the report argues that leaving the expansion of the Net into the Third World to market forces will simply not allow the technology to spread far enough sufficiently quickly. Still, the report admits the UN can't enforce such a tax itself, and with most Western governments keen to encourage Net use in order to promote their countries as preferred territories for e-business, they're unlikely to introduce such a tax unilaterally.


Our experts predict that were such a tax introduced today, then the revenue generated by penis enlargement spam emails alone would be enough to buy a laptop for every child in the developing world, leaving the $90bn per year harvested from 419 junk mail to completely eradicate poverty and disease by 2010. Time, we feel, to reconsider this radical proposal. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights
Lobbies tetchy MPs 'to end indiscriminate online surveillance'
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
4chan outraged by Emma Watson nudie photo leak SCAM
In the immortal words of Shaggy, it wasn't me us ... amirite?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.