Re: internet postal surcharge

Robert J. Bradbury (
Sat, 4 Dec 1999 07:01:06 -0800 (PST)

On Fri, 3 Dec 1999, phil osborn wrote:

> I just received this from Brian Hanish: thought it ought to be passed on.
> Don't know if it's real yet. Brian is usually pretty reliable.
> >quietly push through legislation that will affect your use of the
> >Internet. Under proposed >legislation the U.S. Postal Service will be
> >attempting to bilk email users out of "alternate postage fees". Bill 602P
> >will permit the Federal Govt. 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.

This is fxxxxxg *stupid* (pardon my french), it shows how little the people in Washington understand about technology.

As soon as this gets passed, I'll be the first person to help extend the HTTP/FTP/TELNET protocols so you can send encrypted email via alternate methods. If you send it in an encrypted format there is absolutely no way anyone can tell whether it is email, a file, some text I am typing or a page of hypertext. You cannot tax content, bits are bits, you can only tax the connection by the number you have, the time you are connected or the volume of data sent.

If they pass this law, then people work around it, then they pass another law saying you have to send email in an "open", "taxable" format the people will be demonstrating in the streets.

The genie is out of the bottle and you can't put it back...