Article Date 3-1-00
This message was forwarded to me
>In a message dated 02/27/2000 6:47:22 PM Central Standard Time,
CNN has reported that within the next two weeks Congress is going to vote on allowing telephone companies to CHARGE A TOLL FEE for Internet
Translation: Every time we send a long distance e-mail we will receive a long distance charge. This will get costly. Please visit the following web site and file a complaint. Complain to your Congressperson. We can’t allow this to pass! The following address will
allow you to send an e-mail on this subject DIRECTLY to your Congressperson. http://www.house.gov/writerep
Pass this on to your friends. It is urgent. I hope all of you will pass this on to all your friends and family. We should ALL have an interest in this one. WAIT, THERE’S MORE. IN ADDITION, The last few months have revealed an alarming trend in the Government of the United States attempting to quietly push through legislation that will affect your use of the Internet. Under proposed legislation the US Postal Service will be attempting to bilk email users out of alternate postage fees.” Bill 602P will permit the Federal Government to charge a 5 cent surcharge on every email delivered, by billing Internet Service Providers at source. The consumer would then be billed in turn by the ISP. Washington D.C. lawyer Richard Stepp is working without pay to prevent this legislation from becoming law. The U.S. Postal Service is claiming that lost revenue due to the proliferation of e-mail costing nearly $230,000,000 in revenue per year. You may
have noticed their recent ad campaign “There is nothing like a letter”. Since the average citizen received about 10 pieces of email per day in 1998, the cost to the typical individual would be an additional
50 cents per day, or over $180 dollars per year, above and beyond their regular Internet costs. Note that this would be money paid directly to the U.S. Postal
Service for a service they do not even provide. The whole point of the Internet is democracy and non-interference. If the federal government is permitted to tamper with our liberties by adding a
surcharge to email, who knows where it will end. You are already paying an exorbitant price for snail mail because of bureaucratic inefficiency. It currently takes up to 6 days for a letter to be delivered from New York to Buffalo. If the U.S. Postal Service is allowed to tinker with email, it will mark the end of the “free” Internet in the United States. One congressman, Tony
Schnell has even suggested a “twenty to forty dollar per month surcharge on all Internet service” above and beyond the government’s proposed email charges. Note that most of the major newspapers have
ignored the story, the only exception being the Washingtonian which called the idea of email surcharge “a useful concept who’s time has come” (March 6th,1999)
Editorial. Don’t sit by and watch your freedoms erode away! Send this e-mail to EVERYONE on your list, and tell all your friends and relatives to write to their Congressman and say “No!” to Bill 602P.
It will only take a few moments of your time, and could very well be instrumental in killing a bill we don’t want.
PASS THIS ON TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW WHO USES EMAIL
REMEMBER THESE ARE TWO SEPARATE ISSUES THAT EFFECT ALL OF US ONLINE.
LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD NOW, NOT
Now read my immediate response.
First off this would be impossible to carry out if you take into effect the current infrastructure of the internet. This message has always been a hoax since I’ve used the internet the past 6 years. Let’s look at some major points involved.
1. How can the phone company know that you are sending long distance e-mail from a service such as Hotmail, yahoo, mytalk etc. These companies express the right to privacy and would not tell the phone company who you emailed and where.
2. If CNN reported this why is not big news. The internet censorship at of 1997 was huge and the public had it later repealed after a year of petitioning and a bill such as this would be much bigger. The reason is CNN reported no such thing and no such law is in effect.
3. The government just passed a law this year keeping internet sales and commerce tax-free to enhance the growth of the internet infrastructure, a law such as this one would ruin all the work the World Trade Organization just did. This is another proof that it is a false claim.
4. Telephone companies would love this type of law to be passed because of missing revenues they are losing. Such internet site such as www.dialpad.com allow you to make long distance phone calls for free. Multiple internet software packages allow you to talk like a telephone conversation over the internet for free. Why would they go after e-mail when this hurts them more directly.
5. Due to deregulation of the phone commission any company such as your cable company or even private enterprise has the right to offer telephone service to any person at areas where it is offered. Under these Conditions who gets the money.
6. Your local phone company and you ISP is not allowed to check what sort of data you send from your machine. THIS IS AN INVASION OF PRIVACY. Check you terms of agreement you had for your ISP and if they have violated this you have a major lawsuit on your hands. Hence they do not know where your e-mail is coming from either.
7. Finally who is going to track and figure out the cost of the nearly 2.5 billion e-mail messages sent each day to figure out the tax. The cost alone of setting this up would cost billions and would not be financially sound because it is not electronically possible.
8. It would just be blatantly stupid.
Forward this response to everyone that sent you the original message and tell them they are ignorant to internet feasibility for believing it, but then you never believed it anyway did you?
If anyone else has any software, internet, computer, or electronic age questions you can e-mail me at email@example.com
Brent Matthew Gueth
Since this message I have done some research just to make sure I was not wrong. I wasn’t. Hear what the Toronto Post said when the same scam went around Canada last year. The article is linked here