Hungary Rejected Draft Internet Tax LawAdded: Saturday, November 15th, 2014
Category: Recent Headlines Involving File Sharing > Current Events
Tags:ET, p2p, Torrent, Piracy, Peer To Peer, Network, Hackers, Internet, BitTorrent, Google, utorrent, bitcomet, extratorrent, 2013, www.extratorrent.cc
Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, said that he scrapped the plans for a controversial Internet tax law, explaining that it just can’t be introduced in its current form. Tens of thousands of protesters went out to the streets of Budapest to express their discontent with the law. Most of them regard the tax as just another try to crack down on opposition voices and curtail civil liberties.
However, the plans for a kind of Internet tax were not off the table entirely, with the Prime Minister just rescheduling a national consultation for 2015. The protesters fear that the government had not registered their true concerns. They explained that for many people in Hungary the Internet has become a remedy from the government, but now the latter is trying to pull down a digital iron curtain like they have in Iran or China.
In the meantime, Viktor Orbán has been repeatedly accused of turning his back on democratic principles. It is known, for example, that since coming to power four yeas ago, he managed to overhaul the country’s constitution, push through a legislation to muzzle the press and even changed the electoral system to boost the mandate of the ruling party. The Prime Minister was re-elected in April 2014, although his party gained 21% few domestic votes than last time. Nevertheless, the protests against the Internet tax law have now reinvigorated the critics.
The draft law suggested to tax users about $0.60 per GB of data usage, with a monthly cap of $2.7 for private users and $20 for legal entities. The government figured out that about $250m could be raised via the tax and later spent on extending the national broadband infrastructure.
The protesters point out that the tax scheme could be easily circumvented by changing users’ IP addresses or using foreign ISPs. American and French politicians have also floated proposals for an Internet usage tax, but both found out that their plans were impossible to realize unless carried out by several big industrial nations at once.
As usual, the Internet subscribers fear that the ISPs would pass administration costs down to them, discouraging Internet usage in general. It is known that Hungary is already under scrutiny for attacks on press freedom, and the law would mean that one of the biggest sources of alternative news would become harder to access. As a result, over 70,000 protesters showed up in the streets in Budapest.
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Saturday, November 15th, 2014
|Power to the people, Boss-mag!!!|
|I fail to see how increasing the cost of broadband internet by $2.7 can be interpreted as an attack on the freedom of the press. (For that matter, what freedom is that, exactly? CNN?) And how exactly will ISP's split $20 a month between millions of users?|
If that was true, then half the world with higher internet costs (not to mention throttling,censorship,18 National Firewalls - and the 500 million USA spends spying on their own citizens) would not have any press left at all.
In case I'm missing something, I just phoned a friend who is one of those protestors in Hungary. He has no idea either - it's just he doesn't want to spend another 2 bucks.
|der s no way you can stop ot , tnx for the share|
|posted by (2014-11-17 18:16:30)|
|It was not about the $2.7 / month for the customers. It was for the small ISP's who cannot afford to increase prices. Also, please do not forget that $2.7 is most likely pocket change for you, but in Hungary, it quickly adds up (as a reference, the average monthly wage is $500). Compared to the $500, $2.7 is a major increase.|
Also, the article quotes the government, which says "about $250m could be raised via the tax and later spent on extending the national broadband infrastructure" - a flat out lie. Hungary is already getting much more than that from the EU to upgrade its broadband coverage.
As for attack on the freedom of press. There is a much bigger picture here. The Internet tax was not supposed to be a new tax, but the inclusion of Internet traffic in what is called the Advertisement Tax package. This tax package is something every company has to pay, on top of all the other taxes - income, profit, utilities, VAT, etc. - just because the government needs more money to line their pockets. When they added Internet traffic to this package, in 5 days the government gave 4 different reasons for the tax - from wage increase to law enforcement, to the above mentioned infrastructure upgrade. In reality - according to our finance minister - they realized that people were using Skype to make calls abroad and Skype calls do not generate revenue. In their eyes, Skype calls are free, which is BS, because we're already paying VAT for our Internet subscriptions. But they wanted more. And more. And more.
Overall, this tax was just one more in a line of over 50(!) new taxes introduced by the regime. People had enough. The protests were not about $2.7. They were about corruption, theft, lies, abuse of power, and the abuse of the people by a corrupt regime.
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