Friday, May 29, 2009

Hold on to your wallets. The Internet czar is coming.

Why is it that the announcement that Obama intends to appoint an Internet czar has been met with such a deafening silence?
Those who believe that this appointment has anything to do with security are as naive as those who believed that only earners of more than $250,000 will pay higher taxes. The appointment of this czar has very little to do with security and a lot to do with control and revenue.

The federal and local governments have for a long time felt that the Internet was the last untamed frontier, and were looking for ways to regulate and tax it. Here are some scenarios of what I believe is coming:

1. Tax Internet access and make users pay based on the amount of time that they are logged to the net.

2. Tax email. This proposal has been for a long time part of urban legends, but I would not be surprised if such a tax is proposed to help subsidize the Post Office, meaning higher salaries for mailmen and the support for this tax from unions.

3. License and tax blogs. Blogs are a thorn in the side of politicians. An appropriate regulatory system would ensure that only those whom the politicians love would survive. Whatever revenue came from this tax could be used to subsidize dying newspapers, ensuring their perpetual loyalty and editorial support.

4. Tax large retailers and those who shop on line. Of course this would be done for the sole purpose of protecting mom and pop businesses.

5. Introduce a fairness doctrine for material published on line, demanding opposing views.

6. Protect music and movies from the so called piracy. This alone would ensure the eternal gratitude of Hollywood. Independents distributors of movies and music would be eliminated through prohibitive taxation.

7. Tax legal downloads of music and movies.

8. Tax access to newspapers on line.

9. Tax access to radio and TV on line.

These are just but a few of the nightmarish scenarios I envision coming from our new czar, but I trust their bureaucratic imagination to come with many more creative methods to destroy this last bastion of freedom.

For those of you who would argue that the Internet has no boundaries and it would be impossible to regulate other countries; let me remind you that the United Nations has for a long time demanded a voice in running the Internet. And community organizers tend to love the United Nations.

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