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Wireless Networking The Almighty Buck Hardware

Japan Considers Taxing of WiFi 223

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the well-thats-just-not-very-nice dept.
DoktorTomoe writes "According to an article at Asia Pacific Media Network, Japan plans to introduce a fee for using WLan. The changes necessary for such taxation could be made as early as 2005. "
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Japan Considers Taxing of WiFi

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  • Well... (Score:2, Insightful)

    I hope this doesn't give the US Governement any wild ideas...
    • I hope this doesn't give the US Governement any wild ideas...

      Don't worry....it will. x_X

    • "I hope this doesn't give the US Governement any wild ideas..."

      No, it's pretty good at coming up with stupid ideas all on its own. But at least we know the US Govt doesnt have a *monopoly* on stupid ideas.
      • Re:Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by lightknight (213164) on Thursday July 22, 2004 @03:32PM (#9773248) Homepage
        It's not that we do not have a monopoly on stupid ideas, it's that we export them (so other countries can enjoy the same warm feeling *cough* shaft *cough* of these ideas).

        I guess I wish that the (congressional) debate would move back from "what can we tax?" to "why do we tax?". These days it's less about "Life, Liberty, and Property" than a free-for-all "Everything must go, get your legislation for you and your special interest".

        It's kind of funny what the founding fathers thought of public service: they hated it. The did it, because it needed to be done, but they looked upon the government the same way Bill Gates looks at the DoJ. Now, politicians and beauracrats are treated with great fanfare, as though they are doing something truly great, as opposed to the truth: essentially, they got their position by winning a popularity contest.

        On a side note, does anyone remeber the article a while back, on some obscure law in Florida, whereby they could tax LANs?

  • Tax everything (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ajuda (124386) on Thursday July 22, 2004 @02:46PM (#9772754)
    Isn't this a bit moronic? Find things that make economies more efficient and help spread information and tax them? It's not like wireless costs the government anything to allow. Oh yeah, first post.
    • Oh yeah, first post. I'm sorry, but no...
    • Re:Tax everything (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Tackhead (54550) on Thursday July 22, 2004 @03:07PM (#9772978)
      > Isn't this a bit moronic? Find things that make economies more efficient and help spread information and tax them? It's not like wireless costs the government anything to allow.

      You forget the attitude of the bureaucrat towards anything that "makes an economy more efficient" or "helps spread information". First, a flush of raw trembling fear. Then apply The Rules:

      If it doesn't move, tax it.
      If it moves, regulate it until it stops moving.
      Then tax it.

      Remember, anything not nailed down belongs to the government. Anything that can be pried loose by a legislative body is not nailed down.

      • You forget the attitude of the bureaucrat towards anything that "makes an economy more efficient" or "helps spread information". First, a flush of raw trembling fear. Then apply The Rules:

        If it doesn't move, tax it.
        If it moves, regulate it until it stops moving.
        Then tax it.

        Remember, anything not nailed down belongs to the government. Anything that can be pried loose by a legislative body is not nailed down.


        Look at the things the bureaucrats taxed during the Industrial Revolution. Bricks were taxed [bricksandbrass.co.uk] for a
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Actually I believe it goes like this:

        1. If it moves, tax it.
        2. If it keeps moving, regulate it.
        3. If it stops moving, subsidize it.
      • In Iowa, our governor (a lawyer) proposed expanded the state sales tax to include all professional services - except those of lawyers. He said that we couldn't tax the services of lawyers because that is a constitutionally mandated function. Most of the time, politicians at least to try to look like they're not screwing everyone else when they are.

        This would mean that every CPA, tax person, computer guy, and plumber in the state would need to start charging sales tax on their labor which is typically th

      • You took that from US President Ronald Reagan,


        Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases:

        If it moves, tax it.
        If it keeps moving, regulate it.
        And if it stops moving, subsidize it.

        Those are his words.

    • Re:Tax everything (Score:4, Informative)

      by pilgrim23 (716938) on Thursday July 22, 2004 @04:16PM (#9773635)
      The classic example of basic research and its applicability is illustrated by the visit of Prime Minister Gladstone to the laboratory
      of Michael Faraday. Gladstone asked Faraday whether he thought this esoteric substance called "electricity" would ever have any practical uses. Faraday's reply was, "ONE DAY, SIR YOU WILL TAX IT."
      From Editorial in Science 26:735 11 Feb 1994 by Daniel E. Koshland
      Jr.
    • Re:Tax everything (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It's not like wireless costs the government anything to allow?

      Yeah, there's not a government agency that regulates public use of the EM spectrum and certifies devices so that using your Microwave doesn't disrupt your wireless network. No, no government involvement in that at all. It's all manufacturers magically agreeing to use the same spectrum, because one thing vendors love is for their competitors' products to be interoperable with their own.

      And furthermore, taxes exist to create revenue. They do n
  • Taxing Wi-FI (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wizatcomputer (798648) <wizatcomputer.gmail@com> on Thursday July 22, 2004 @02:46PM (#9772756)
    How can someone but a tax on using Wi-Fi? That would be like putting a tax on the cordless phones, or remote car locks. Stupid, and a cheep way to get some money for the government!
    • Stupid, and a cheep way to get some money for the government!

      Perhaps... but that's how government works.

      Governments require lots of money for things such as police, defense and their special programs and taxing little things left and right is a great way to get money.
      • The problem is that it might mean "back to wired we go"...

        Really, it sounds like a taxation on progress. It's not as if wireless "b" or "g" were all that well thought-out, with only three channels but this is insane.
    • Users of home information appliances and wireless LANs are currently exempt from paying spectrum user fees.

      But the ministry plans to hit the users with these fees because such appliances use almost the same spectrum as mobile phones, whose users are required to pay the fees, they said.

      Actually, if you had bothered to RTFA. They do tax cordless phones and anything that uses that spectrum. PLEASE, /., LEARN TO RTFA

  • by mfh (56) on Thursday July 22, 2004 @02:47PM (#9772771) Homepage Journal
    Hey, when's the oxygen tax coming out? Oh, and I think we should also create a tax for walking anywhere, by counting the steps each person takes and sending them a bill at the end of the month. Could be rolled into the breathing tax, by counting the number of breaths each person takes and adding them together for a Human Life Tax. Or we could just tax Wifi...
    • Are you nuts? You're going to give them ideas!
    • Re:Human Life Tax (Score:3, Insightful)

      by marnargulus (776948)
      This might be considered if all of a sudden we have huge populations using much of the air available, and making it possible that others can't breathe. From what I see, they are just applying a tax on something that uses the limited spectrum. When all of the space for the spectrum gets filled, who do you think the people will be pissed at for not managing that? The government. They are just trying to help manage it before it gets out of hand. (Especially in a space conservative place like japan. Image
      • Re:Human Life Tax (Score:3, Interesting)

        by marcello_dl (667940)
        When all of the space for the spectrum gets filled, who do you think the people will be pissed at for not managing that? The government. They are just trying to help manage it before it gets out of hand.

        I don't understand. The tax would have a regulating effect only if wifi access available in public places were taxed, but what about your own apartment using a low power access point? With all the available wifi channels there's no big risk of saturation when everybody keeps the power low enough (risking
        • With all the available wifi channels

          Depending on country, there are one to fourteen channels. The problem is that the band used is much wider than the given channel, so "b" and "g" only have three non-overlapping channels. Some people say that they managed to squeeze out four without serious degradation of speed. Unless the government is offering some sort of remediation system, I don't see the point.

          In an apartment housing situation, you have the potential of twenty six neighbors that might interfe
      • You have an odd way of looking at things. I see this as simply another way for a greedy government to tax it's citizens.
    • where's your compassion? everyone knows people who can afford wireless are rich. are you saying the poor should pay taxes?

      there are already cell phone taxes everywhere, there is a city that taxes based on how much it rains, welcome to liberal government

    • Too right: Just look at all of those "breathers", sucking up the national oxygen supply and polluting the atmosphere with CO2, which we know causes all of that plant overgrowth. It's high time all governments did something to curb this scourge on the commmon good.
    • You must not live in Pennsylvania. We have an Oxygen tax. It's called a Per Capita, and every one over 18 has to pay it.
    • We have to pay for our water here (UK), and I imagine most people reading this will pay a similar levy.

      All well and good, it costs money to process the water for consumption.

      But it is mandated that *all* precipitation belongs to the state.
      You cannot (legally) collect water for drinking yourself.

      • We have to pay for our air here (UK), and I imagine most people reading this will pay a similar levy.

        All well and good, it costs money to process the air for consumption.

        But it is mandated that *all* oxygen belongs to the state.
        You cannot (legally) collect air for breathing yourself.
    • Oh, that's nothing; in the UK we have specialised in stupid taxes.

      We have even had an air tax; well, we called it a 'poll tax' (aka community charge); but it was clearly an air tax, since you only had to pay it as long as you were breathing :-)

      We also used to have window taxes and clock taxes [tripod.com]; with predictably silly results.

      And of course the tea tax we levied on one of our (now ex) colonies... they never completely forgave us for that (p.s. the UK likes what you've done with the place- we want it back

  • involves the power to destroy -- Chief Justice John Marshall
  • Realistically, how do they plan on doing this? A levy on the purchase of Wi-FI hardware, or do they somehow plan to tax the *usage* of the spectrum?

    If they use the second option, how do they plan on enforcing this?
    • it's on the sale of hardware.
      Of course, RTFA, and you might notice it mentions that.
    • I would suspect that it would work something like the TV taxation enforcement that is done in much of Europe.

      Basicly the local enforcement division would do war driving to identify the location of APs, and WiFi adapters, Check to see if the ESSID, physical location, etc. are all part of a registered and paid up user, or not, then send a letter informing anyone who does not have a paid up account that they need to pay the appropriate fees, and register their AP and ESSID, or adapters.

      I would suspect that i
  • by k4_pacific (736911) <k4_pacific AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday July 22, 2004 @02:50PM (#9772802) Homepage Journal
    Does this mean that the Japanese government is going to take up wardriving to look for violators?
    • by JPelorat (5320)
      And when they find a node, they crash their van into it.
    • Maybe. That's pretty much what they do in the UK to enforce TV licenses.
    • Sure, all they have to do is add some equipment to the cat detector vans.

      KFG
    • Actually, I remember reading where in the UK there are vans that drive around with specialized equipment detecting TV's to ensure that anyone with a television is paying their TV tax.

      You've gotta love government. Is there anything the government won't tax?

      I understand that television in the UK is run differently than here in the states, but Japan taxing 802.11x? I understand taxes when the government actually has a legitimate reason taxing a product or service (i.e. the taxes on gasoline pay for roads).

      • It's propaganda, most of the vans are decoys for scaring people.

        A while back there was a poster campaign here. Billboards went up with lists of addresses in the local area printed in 2ft high lettering of who hadn't paid their TV license fee.

        I *really* wanted my address on one but alas no.

        • A while back there was a poster campaign here. Billboards went up with lists of addresses in the local area printed in 2ft high lettering of who hadn't paid their TV license fee.

          Ahh, gotta love that wonderful UK privacy.
      • Actually, I remember reading where in the UK there are vans that drive around with specialized equipment detecting TV's to ensure that anyone with a television is paying their TV tax.

        ...the Looney-Detector Van, you mean...

    • How is wardriving going to detect if someone somehow avoided the wifi tax on the purchase of their wifi device?
    • Re:Wardriving... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by FireFury03 (653718)
      Does this mean that the Japanese government is going to take up wardriving to look for violators?

      Unfortunately that's exactly what we get in the UK from the TV Licencing authority - they drive around in detector vans looking for anyone watching TV who doesn't have a licence.

      They also have the assumption that _everyone_ has a TV and target households who don't have a TV with threatening letters and billboard adverts [turnoffyourtv.com], even if they don't have a TV.

      A few years ago after I moved house I didn't have a TV for
  • Yet more blatant governmental greed...
    At least it will be hard to enforce.
  • ...if it is explored commercially! For home and company use, how will they charge it? Now, if a company is providing a commercial service over unregulated spectrum, it could be taxed. But if it is taxed, shouldn't the providers receive the same guaranties as the providers of other regulated wireless access, like the right to have it's spectrum free from interference, etc?
    • For home and company use, how will they charge it?

      From the article:

      The ministry plans to collect fees from users of information appliances when they purchase these products, according to the sources.

      So, its a per-device tax. Still a bad idea, and not very fair, perhaps, since some people will use the devices more than others (and in more crowded places), but this is a whole lot better than, say, per-minute useage charges.

      -jim

  • In Japan (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 22, 2004 @02:53PM (#9772837)
    Taxing of WiFi considered... in Japan!

    • I tip my hat to you, sir. Ontopic, funny, and making use of a repetitive joke.

      The depth astounds me. And if I don't stop I'm going to sound like and English major.
  • I can see how they apply a tax to cell phones and other such devices that require an account with a provider, as taxes can be enforced via the normal billing cycle. But how do you tax WiFi? It certainly couldn't be done via the ISP's billing mechanism (right?)...

    I'm interested to see how they figure this one out, but I must say...this reminds me of the chainmails of a few years back that claimed the U.S. Government was going to tax email.....
    • Your ISP doesn't keep track of how much your pulling in and out? How do you think the **AA figure who is "trading files" and who isn't? The people taking in gigs of space and uploading almost as much are considered suspects. They only know how much pipe you use based on what the ISP provides.
      • Your ISP doesn't keep track of how much your pulling in and out? How do you think the **AA figure who is "trading files" and who isn't? The people taking in gigs of space and uploading almost as much are considered suspects. They only know how much pipe you use based on what the ISP provides.

        Sure, I understand that, but we're not talking about how much bandwidth, were talking about the technology by which that bandwidth is accessed.

        Of course my ISP knows how much bandwidth I am using, but as far as I kno
    • I'm interested to see how they figure this one out

      May I suggest reading the article? Taxing the sale of wifi devices is how.

      Finkployd
    • It's easy to do. Just call it a Universal Wifi tax and tax everyone who uses the internet in Japan.
    • When I was a n00b, I've been playing by linking 3 computers just for the fun: I didn't knew what an ISP was and I didn't needed it. I just gave my PCs random IPs like 192.168.0.42 and it worked. Your ISP doesn't need to know what your network looks like (Mac/PC, Ethernet/Wireless). And for the billing process, I would never give any details to anyone, ever.
  • I propose a tax on all those who stand in water!
    *looks around*
    ooooooogghhh!
  • Believe me, wifey is taxing enough. That bitch won't stop nagging me.
  • If it's offered commercially.

    Wouldn't it already be covered by some tax? If I pay 20 bucks an hour at starbucks (no idea what it costs), isnt there some goods or services tax applied in the US (depending on state?)

    Any time money changes hands, the government will make sure they get some. The beatles wrote a song about it and everything, try not to be too shocked.
  • by L. VeGas (580015) on Thursday July 22, 2004 @02:59PM (#9772912) Homepage Journal
    A tax on Wifi? What about Hubby?
  • All I've seen here so far are people whining about getting taxed on a service.

    Have you ever looked at your home cable internet bill, flipped it around to the back and noticed the amount of tax placed on it? Federal Tax, Service Tax, etc etc. A good $4-$5 worth of tax goes to the government because you use cable/dialup internet. This is nothing new, and nothing that we should be surprised about.
    • They're not talking about taxing a serivce. They're talking about taxing the use of a technology.
    • Maybe because the use of cable/phone requires the FCC et al. to act as referees between all the companies who want to provide those services so they get along and don't step on each other's toes, hence makes a tax on those services reasonable to pay for the government expenses. With Wifi, there is not government intervention since it is in a license free spectrum and doesn't interfere with another services, thus costing nobody anything to have a large amount of people using Wifi. Taxing something that doe
      • The FCC acts as referee in the unlicensed space as well - just because there aren't licenses doesn't mean there aren't rules (but that doesn't mean taxing ISM band radios is a good idea - I doubt they spend much of their time tracking down malfunctioning 802.11 cards, and it would be kind of dumb to tax microwaves because they emit rf energy in the same band).

        -jim

  • by Klar (522420)
    I for one think this is a good thing!

    ....humm maybe I posted that comment on the wrong website :( hehe
  • by javaxman (705658) on Thursday July 22, 2004 @03:08PM (#9772993) Journal
    I can't believe all the idiots on /. ...
    They're talking about an extra tax on wifi hardware, not on "usage" per se. The tax would be at time of sale. RTFA, people.
  • So, they are going to what - count the number of wifi devices you have in your house? How is this supposed to work?

  • So is the 2.4Ghz band not public in Japan like it is in the US (and I would assume Europe)? Or, does their equivilent of the FCC just encourage this kind of thing?

    Sounds to me like somebody decided that there's a big pot o' gold waiting for them if they can tax the numerous WiFi operators. It also sounds to me like they didn't think it through one bit. What an effective way to kill a technology like this.
  • by javaxman (705658) on Thursday July 22, 2004 @03:17PM (#9773074) Journal
    The reason this would be an unfair tax is that it's a tax on transmitters, but not a license for spectrum use.

    The cell-phone frequency example cited in the article puts Joe Japanese Wifi User on par with cell companies. However, cell companies get a slice of spectrum *licensed*, all to themselves. If they find someone transmitting on that frequency other than themselves, they can order them to shut down, and/or take them to court.

    Joe Wifi User gets no such protection. If two guys buy Wifi base stations and set them up next to each other, they both 'payed for the use of the spectrum' and get exactly the same ( no ) protection for the money they've paid. It's just an extra, specific tax on wifi equipment, not any sort of 'spectrum use' fee. A spectrum use fee implies a protected license to use that spectrum. Wifi ain't like that, we're all using the *same* range of frequencies.
  • This is the way the government works. I wouldn't be suprised if our government is currently pursuing an equivalent system. The government makes the carriers (backbone, isps) pay for a right-of-way on the physical cabeling through their districts. They also have to pay large amounts of taxes on using this infastructure.

    With wireless the government loses out on any direct profit from communication systems, because where the simplicity of wireless comes in it also brings a giant headache for them. I expec
    • With wireless the government loses out on any direct profit from communication systems, because where the simplicity of wireless comes in it also brings a giant headache for them.

      That's actually an interesting point -- wireless has to be regulated and the airwaves are a shared resource. I could see maybe taxing things based on signal strength *if* they're monodirectional. Unidirectional things (laser, Pringles can 802.11b, etc) don't pose the same issue.
      • Ack. That should be if they're unidirectional, and spew waves in all direction. Monodirectional would continue to be untaxed.
  • What would one expect? I am sure there will be a nice little movement to charge Universal Service Fee as well. Never mind that it's illogical. Just pray that if these fees get added, they'd be one time only, and not "every month that equipment is in use". Then you will pay for VOIP dearly -- your broadband provider, tax on broadband access, tax on VOIP service, tax on WiFi router that is used to connect VOIP box.
    Socialism is alive and well here... :)
  • Is my patience. Someone should commit seppku for suggesting such a stupid idea.
  • by foidulus (743482) * on Thursday July 22, 2004 @03:50PM (#9773412)
    straws.
    Japan's national debt rivals that of the US, despite the fact that Japan's GDP is only 40% of the US, though a mitigating factor is that Japan's debt is almost all domestically held, whereas the US's is held by a large number of foriegn countries, including ironically Japan. Japan's debt is 140% of their GDP, the highest in the industrialized world. The reason? Taxes are relatively low in Japan to begin with, but Japan insisted on spending it's way out of a recession by so many useless public works projects(which is why I cringe every time the US highway bill is passed), and failed miserably. It was absolutely amazing to me when I was there, I saw construction crews tear apart a perfect road to pave it again. I was dumbfounded(esp. since I come from PA, where they won't fix the roads even when they need it) And with the deepening pension scandal, where politicians didn't pay into Japan's pension system for many years, expect many more wacky taxes to come out of Japan..
  • In Soviet Russia, WiFi taxes you.
  • Yes! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nicodietrich (723545)
    This gives me a good feeling for the night! Maybe interesting to think about!
  • Buy used WiFi gear. If there isn't a good market for it yet, POS taxes will create one.
  • our government already taxes wifi but you will need to also register if you wish to use wifi for outdoors and other commercial purposes and you will pay for it.


    pretty bad though. the government agency that allocates frequencies gave the 2.4ghz band to an electric utility company. they use that frequency for their monitoring (scada.)


    people pay the price for government's mistake in our case.

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