Here’s a crazy thought .. what if the EU decided to tax SMS and email messages? Apparently this is currently
being investigated as a way to fund the EU following the fact that the member
states couldn’t agree on the next 7-year budget and a dispute on the current way the
EU is funded (“Currently the EU budget is funded through a combination of import duties,
value added tax revenues and direct contributions from member states–the so-called
“Gross National Income resource,” which is calculated according to wealth.”)
What the news article doesn’t talk about is how the policy-makers plan on collecting
this “tax”, what the impact would be on EU citizens and what the long-term economic
effects of introducing such a tax would be. And then there’s the moral debate of whether
the people on the right side of the Digital Divide should be funding the EU while
others don’t. From a technological point of view, if something like this was implemented
we’d see a potential drop in SMS usage and a rise in alternative messaging (IM over
GPRS maybe). We could also see a rise in off-shore mail hosting providers. This could
actually prove beneficial to the Isle of Man if
it could leverage it’s non-EU status to host tax-free communication provision ….
Time will tell.