United Nations Wants E-Mail Tax

By Ben Anderson | July 7, 2008 | 8:24 PM EDT

(CNS) - The United Nations is proposing an e-mail tax in an effort to boost internet technology access to poor countries in a plan researchers believe will slow a growing "knowledge gap" between the United States and underdeveloped countries.

American researchers and military officials invented it. American corporations further developed it into one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy. Now, United Nations policy makers want to tax Internet e-mail to pay for third world access to the World Wide Web - a move which they believe will make the Internet live up to its name.

According to a report by the United Nations Development Program entitled Globalization With a Human Face, Internet users are largely comprised of males located in the United States, a situation UN researchers suggest puts the world's undeveloped countries at risk of being left behind in a race for knowledge. "The literally well connected have an overpowering advantage over the unconnected poor, whose voices and concerns are being left out of the global conversation," the UNDP said in a press release.

"Karl Marx would be proud," said Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist. Marx is famous for his statement, "from each according to his means, to each according to his needs." Marx, Norquist said, "must be smiling now."

A team of UN researchers conclude that the Internet has led to a "race to lay claim to knowledge," in which the "The global gap between the haves and have-nots, between know and know-nots, is widening." Such circumstances warrant greater "governance of the Internet" in the form of a "bit tax" to supply the "needs and concerns of developing countries."

While places such as Bangladesh are behind the United States in terms of Internet access, UN policy developers are suggesting that Internet users in the United States be taxed for e-mail usage for what they determine to be "large" e-mails. To "rectify the imbalance" between Internet users and non-users, the researchers propose a "tax of one US cent on every 100 lengthy e-mails" which they believe would generate $70 billion a year.