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.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

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


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. 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 thread ]

  2. 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 thread ]

  3. 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 thread ]

  4. 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 thread ]

  5. 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 thread ]

  6. 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 thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Oct 2014 @ 3:09pm

    Re:

    You assume politicians and industry want to keep citizens well informed. They want to keep them ignorant and misguided.

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

  8. 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 thread ]

  9. 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 thread ]

  10. 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 thread ]

  11. 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 thread ]

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Oct 2014 @ 5:50pm

    Re: Re:

    The more ignorant people are, the easier they are to exploit.

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

  13. 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 thread ]

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

    The MAFIAA also wants an Internet Tax.

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

  15. 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 thread ]

  16. 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 thread ]

  17. identicon
    apetra, 2 Nov 2014 @ 4:54pm

    Re:

    true! just look at obamacare.

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

  18. 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 thread ]

  19. identicon
    Pragmatic, 3 Nov 2014 @ 7:15am

    Re: Re:

    False comparison. Romneycare, anyone?

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Essential Reading
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.