The PJ Tatler

UN Getting Closer to 'Internet Tax'

The power to tax is the power to control — or destroy. Any third grader knows this which is why the United Nation’s efforts to slap a tax on internet usage is a thinly disguised campaign to wrest control of the web from those much more inclined to allow for total freedom, and put it in the hands of nations who would employ censorship to achieve political ends.

The Hill:

U.S. Ambassador Terry Kramer warned on Friday that a proposal to give a United Nations agency more control over the Internet is gaining momentum in other countries.

Proposals to expand the U.N.’s International Telecommunications Union’s (ITU) authority over the Internet could come up at a treaty conference in Dubai in December. European telecommunications companies are pushing a plan that would create new rules that would allow them to charge more to carry international traffic.

The proposal by the European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association could force websites like Google, Facebook and Netflix to pay fees to network operators around the world.

Kramer said the idea of an international Internet fee is “gaining more interest in the African states and also in the Arab states.”

He said the United States delegation to the conference will have to redouble its efforts to convince other countries that the proposal would only stifle innovation and economic growth.

We support efforts to grow broadband markets—not just divvying a static pie of revenue between operators and governments,” Kramer said in a speech in Washington hosted by the Telecommunications Industry Association.

Democrats and Republicans in the United States are united against proposals to increase international control of the Internet. Congress passed a non-binding resolution earlier this year urging the United States delegation to “promote a global Internet free from government control and preserve and advance the successful multistakeholder model that governs the Internet today.”

But Kramer warned that the United States is gaining a reputation of stubbornly opposing any changes to the ITU treaty. He said the United States will have to engage in negotiations with other countries to address their concerns.

A question for internet users: Who would you rather be appointing our “negotiators” in this matter? Mitt Romney, or the self-conscious internationalist Barack Obama?

No doubt Obama negotiators could find “common ground” with the cutthroats of the world and give a little to get a little in talks aimed at “reforming” the ITU. Just what freedoms would they be likely to negotiate away in the interest of international comity?

Do you want to find out?