Note: This column represents the opinions
of the writer and as such, is not purported as fact|
Governments around the world are well-known for finding any excuse to levy
a tax. PAYE, ACC, GST, FBT, road-tax, payrole tax -- even here in New
Zealand the list is almost endless.
Then there are the taxes or levies associated with getting local or central government's
permission to do everything from driving a car to owning a dog.
So what's this got to do with the Net?
Check Out The Aardvark PC-Based Digital
Entertainment Centre Project
Well I have mooted the prospect of licensing individual Net users in the past
and speculated that this may be the only effective way to control spam,
illegal porn and Internet fraud.
I wasn't particularly serious about this, although I have no doubt that there
are some bureaucrats who would be very much in favour of such an initiative.
What is a worry however, is the move in recent days by two overseas governments
to introduce tough new regulations in respect to websites.
In Vietnam, it's now necessary to get government permission before you put
up a website. Honest... I kid you not!
Maybe it's not too much of a surprise that this would happen in a country
like Vietnam, which is hardly known for encouraging freedom of speech or
the rights of the individual -- but they're not the only one introducing
such draconian laws.
Believe it or not, Spain, a country considered by most people to be
a part of the Western world, appears to have done exactly the same thing.
According to a report
published by The Register, "[Spanish] Web sites must register with the government
and ISPs are obliged to monitor sites for illicit content, which they must
report to the authorities"
Let's hope that our own government isn't eyeing this type of stupidity as
a model for extra revenue generation. Let's face it, if they put their spin-doctors
onto the job, they'd probably have little difficulty in convincing the public
at large (the ones who don't have websites) that we need some form of control
to avoid a proliferation of kiddy-porn, prego-porn, evil child-molester chat-rooms, etc.
Charge $500 per website and I think you'd find that the revenues generated would
contribute very nicely to Helen's obsession with funding the Arts.
I hope I haven't given anyone ideas.
More Broadband Competition?
In recent years there have been many attempts (mainly by power companies)
to use the power grid for carrying broadband data. Although they all
start out with great promise and potential, they invariably end up
a disappointment and we hear nothing more about them.
Counties Power have been smart enough to realise that the technology isn't
ready to allow this type of dual-use for their lines but have decided
to jump on the broadband bandwagon anyway.
I won't elaborate here because there's plenty of coverage over at
IDG and the
IDG Have Some Good Spinmeisters!
I try to restrict any comments I might have in respect to other local IT/Net
publishers to positive things -- so today I'm praising IDG's ability to
turn a sow's ear into a silk purse.
Many readers will recall that a while back that NetGuide went head-to-head
with a very similar (too similar actually) publication from IDG, originally
titled "Net Magazine". It was clear to even the most casual of observers
that IDG was trying to capitalise on the significant success that Netguide
was enjoying in a small but seemingly lucrative sector of the market.
Netguide called in the sharks and IDG was forced to change their magazine's
name while also reviewing the format slightly.
Well, despite telling us relentlessly that iMag was doing really well,
IDG has decided to pull the plug on it.
Here's how the closure was announced:
iMag, published by IDG Communications, will cease publication
after its November issue. iMag debuted a little under two years
ago and has grown strongly, garnering a number of publishing
awards and amassing a loyal following of some 91,000 readers*
in the process.
Hmmm... it's so good we just had to shut it down or be embarrassed
by success eh?
Maybe it did do very well -- but it seems that there's only enough
room for one such publication in NZ's limited market.
If you want to have your say on the contents
of today's column then please do so.
Only comments marked "For Publication" will (if I have time) be published in the
readers' comments section.
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