After Protests Continue, Hungary Dumps Stupid Internet Tax Idea

from the and-let-us-never-speak-of-it-again dept

Earlier this week, we wrote about widespread demonstrations against a monumentally stupid plan by the Hungarian government to tax internet usage on a per-gigabyte-downloaded plan. The protests caused the government to "modify" the plan and put a cap on how much tax would be charged, but that seemed to do little to stop the complaints -- and thus, the government is shelving the plan entirely, with Prime Minister Viktor Orban announcing that the "tax in its current form cannot be introduced." Of course, that leaves open the possibility of it coming back in "another" form. But perhaps Orban is learning not to take on the internet. An analysis from the BBC talks about why Orban backed down:
Viktor Orban does not often back down, but he has done so on this occasion for several reasons.
  • He saw how unpopular the tax was. He managed with one stroke to do something which opposition leaders had tried and failed to do for five years: unify his opponents
  • He took on the best-organised community in the country - internet users - and lost
  • The government's communication methods failed again - as they have with almost every major decision since Fidesz came to power
  • "We are not Communists. We don't go against the will of the people," he said - a sign that growing comparisons between Fidesz and the old Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party are hitting the mark.
At the very least, this is yet another example of how the public is not willing to just roll over when politicians attack the internet.

Filed Under: hungary, internet tax, protests, viktor orban


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  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 31 Oct 2014 @ 2:33pm

    At the very least, this is yet another example of how the public is not willing to just roll over when politicians attack the internet.

    On one hand, awesome! Good for the Hungarians!

    On the other... and yet the politicians keep trying. It's a big game of whack-a-mole, until the people change the rules by not just drawing lines in the sand and saying "no, you can't do that," but actually pushing back and getting positive laws passed instead.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Anonymous Howard (profile), 3 Nov 2014 @ 1:02am

      Re:

      It was a good thing because it shook up the apathetic hungarian population a bit.

      Governments get away going opposite with the people because the masses believe they can do nothing against it. We showed Hungary that this is not the case.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Oct 2014 @ 2:37pm

    Most of humanity's knowledge and information is on the internet. It seems completely counterproductive to use taxation as a deterrent to keep people from accessing that knowledge.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Oct 2014 @ 2:47pm

    "We are not Communists. We don't go against the will of the people," he said - a sign that growing comparisons between Fidesz and the old Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party are hitting the mark.
    Cue some idiotic argument from the anti net neutrality ASStroturfers about how net neutrality is a socialist plot because Hungary

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Oct 2014 @ 2:49pm

    Is it ok to tax books? Newspapers? Telephone service? Electricity? Natural gas? Cable/satellite TV? Why does internet service get a pass?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Oct 2014 @ 3:12pm

      Re:

      No one is saying Internet service gets a pass. But do newspapers get directly taxed based on the number of words in the paper? Do books directly get taxed by number of pages and words? Does cable get directly taxed by number of shows?

      Internet service providers already pay their taxes just like everyone else. So why add this additional tax?

      It should also be noted that electricity companies (ie: General Electric) get all kinds of tax breaks and, IIRC, at least here in the U.S. they don't pay taxes(?).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      tracyanne (profile), 31 Oct 2014 @ 3:15pm

      Re: Why does internet service get a pass?

      As far as I know it doesn't. In my country we pay Goods and Service Tax as part of our connection fee, and GST on any over use of allocated Bandwidth charges, over the amount we have already paid for. GST also applies to books, Newspapers and our Telephone service. I'm sure any other country where a VAT or GST is applied to Goods and Services has the same thing.

      From what I understand the Hungarian thing was something quite different.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Oct 2014 @ 2:56pm

    You're right. Taxation is out of control. In America we even have a mandatory tax on human life, called the Affordable Care Act. You know taxation is out of control when you start taxing people for breathing air.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Oct 2014 @ 3:08pm

    "We are not Communists. We don't go against the will of the people,"

    Sadly the U.S. goes against the will and interests of the people on a regular basis provided politicians get something in return.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Oct 2014 @ 3:30pm

    "We are not Communists. We don't go against the will of the people,"

    Because there was no lobby supporting your cause, give it time I have faith in all politicians.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Oct 2014 @ 3:50pm

    ...and the UK steals it. (Possibly.)

    After all, there's a profit to be had.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2014 @ 1:46am

    The second half of those points are bullshit.
    Whats next? Orbán says he is proud to be hungarian and BBC announces that fidesz is the new nazi party?

    Friendly reminder, every party says that there were foreign agents in the crowd who wanted to turn the whole thing into a violent riot which is certainly a lot more intresting than a small 2euro tax.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Nov 2014 @ 3:09pm

    The MAFIAA also wants an Internet Tax.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    node (profile), 1 Nov 2014 @ 3:17pm

    EU Commission rather than protests

    Sounds all very good, however I'd put my money down on it being the European Commission rather than any protests that put the nail into that specific coffin.

    Admittedly, spinning it this way sounds a lot cooler, but then again, reality usually doesn't make for such nice headlines.

    http://euobserver.com/justice/126294
    http://online.wsj.com/articles/eu-warns-hungary-over-i nternet-tax-plan-1414511855
    http://news.yahoo.com/eu-slams-hungary-internet-tax-plan-bad-precedent-14 0648805.html

    I know, that in my very few comments here I'm usually complaining about something, but that's only because I tend to hold Techdirt to (much) higher standards than most other publications.

    Not even mentioning the fact that the European Commission put a lot of pressure on Hungary to scrap the proposed law is a little misleading at best though.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    fuck hungary/romania, 2 Nov 2014 @ 11:18am

    GUess where GAME BOTS COME FROM

    Guess where GAME BOTS COME FROM.....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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