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Data Storage Hardware

Portugal Is Considering a "Terabyte Tax" 353

An anonymous reader writes "As a proposal to avoid becoming the 'next Greece', a Portuguese opposition party has proposed a tax on storage. The party claims that the tax will not effect the average citizen and is mostly levied at business users, but internal storage on mobile phones means a 64GB iPhone could be €32 more expensive. From the article: 'The proposal would have consumers paying an extra €0.2 per gigabyte in tax, almost €21 extra per terabyte of data on hard drives. Devices with storage capacities in excess of 1TB would pay an aggravated tax of 2.5 cents per GB. That means a 2TB device will in fact pile on €51.2 in taxes alone (2.5 cents times 2048GB). External drives or “multimedia drives” as the proposed bill calls them, in capacities greater than 1TB, can be taxed to the tune of 5 cents per gigabyte, so in theory, a 2TB drive would cost an additional €103.2 per unit (5 cents times 2048GB)."
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Portugal Is Considering a "Terabyte Tax"

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  • by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @05:33AM (#39670921)
    Perhaps that's the idea. This is a copyright-inspired effort, after all - and with the move to the cloud and it's inherent ease of central control, perhaps the thinking behind such high taxes is that ordinary people cannot be trusted with so much storage of their own. They might misuse it for piracy.
  • Outdated (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GothicKnight ( 830786 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @05:33AM (#39670923)
    **OLD** This law draft was already discarted like 2 moths ago.
    • Wrong (almost) - draft law dropped doesn't seem to matter. They come up with these ideas and keep pushing a tweaking them and pushing them and in a few years they are in place.
      . So yes you are correct. "That FA" may be wrong or old; but it isn't dead - Got to keep the fight going.
      • Which is why we must remain on guard against SOPA and PIPA. I'm already hearing rumblings from their supporters to try again.

        "Draft law" is only one dropped letter away from "daft law".
    • Re:Outdated (Score:5, Funny)

      by SeaFox ( 739806 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @06:57AM (#39671289)

      ...discarted like 2 moths ago.

      So into the flame it went?

    • Re:Outdated (Score:4, Funny)

      by ThatsNotPudding ( 1045640 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @08:03AM (#39671711)

      **OLD** This law draft was already discarted like 2 moths ago.

      By Renee, attracted to a candle flame.

    • Re:Outdated (Score:4, Informative)

      by luder ( 923306 ) * <slashdot@l b r> on Friday April 13, 2012 @08:12AM (#39671769)

      It was not completely discarded, it was canceled after all the criticism [], but they already said they're revising the proposal and will present it again.


    • Do you have a war on moths in Portugal? It may be more effective than a war on caterpillers

    • by miknix ( 1047580 )

      Indeed. Still, coming from a Portuguese itself, this is the most stupid idea ever! I got a better idea, why don't they reduce the parliament size to the minimum required by law and reduce their own wages to a sane value?

      Did my Portuguese friends knew that the government servers that used to run Linux were just migrated to Microsoft DURING A RECESSIVE CRISIS?? It was for that reason that their web sites went down for several days: []

  • Maths (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spad ( 470073 ) <slashdot@spad.[ ]uk ['co.' in gap]> on Friday April 13, 2012 @05:33AM (#39670927) Homepage

    Doubling the price of a 2Tb external drive? You're going to have to pirate a *shitload* of stuff to make up for that.

    • Re:Maths (Score:5, Funny)

      by bmo ( 77928 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @06:03AM (#39671053)

      It's Europe, so it will have to be a Metric Shitload, which is itself different from the Imperial Shitload, which is 1.125 American Shitloads


      • by imikem ( 767509 )

        So this means Brits and Eurozoners are more full of shit than Americans? I wouldn't have thought that even possible. They must have better compression algorithms over there.

        • Re:Maths (Score:5, Funny)

          by bmo ( 77928 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @09:31AM (#39672461)

          Shit compression algorithms work only once, at the factory where it is forced into bags by magical and undocumented processes that happen at the quantum level. The factory is owned and operated by entities outside our Universe who have refused repeated inquiries about this process.

          Shit is incompressible once out of the bag. You can never put it back in, hence one definition of a blivet which is "10 pounds of shit in a 5 pound bag" equating to a 2:1 compression ratio at the factory.

          People have tried to put shit back in the bag once it has been let out. Einstein, and Bose thought they got close to a theoretical compression, which they called a Bose-Einstein-Shit condensate, but they failed to take into account dark energy, which is an opposing force that tends to spread shit everywhere.

          When Edwin Hubble discovered the expanding universe through red shifts, he exclaimed "Holy Shit!" and "What is this shit?" not knowing at the time that shit is the actual source of the dark energy speeding the expansion.

          Minkowski described "shit cones" describing the causality of shit.

          Stephen Hawking, in his famous paper proved through Feynman-Shit diagrams that black holes evaporate because they "lose their shit."

          At the macro level, sometimes this is also measured in worm cans. Worms eat shit, which is probably why they too are incompressible once out of the can.


      • It's a shibiload.

    • by siddesu ( 698447 )
      I'll just download Angry Birds for iPhone a million times and I'll be okay.
    • Sounds like a challenge to me...

  • 1tB != 1TB (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 13, 2012 @05:35AM (#39670929)

    Am I the only one that thinks that people might finally complain that they're paying tax on the extra 24 MB in every GB without getting them?

    • You assume people can do the math? They're overtaxed already when trying to figure out how they're screwed over with those "20% rebates" that rarely border the 15%.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        That's not the problem. The problem is that you consider that kind of bullshit is acceptable. Here in the old continent when you say I'm selling this for 500€ it means that you actually have to sell it for 500€. Not for 600€+taxes+mandatory tip minus coupon-filling bonus for limited number of people who fill some bscure criteria. You'd get sued for that, it's considered fraud.

  • by Celexi ( 1753652 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @05:35AM (#39670933)
    As far i know ( i live in Portugal ) other than this being old news, it was rejected by all other parties other than the one attempting to get this passed and was rather laughed about because of it here.
    • by Splab ( 574204 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @06:14AM (#39671089)

      Dude, seriously? What right do YOU have to come here and destroy the rants with facts? This article is the perfect fear and trolling opportunity and here you are, ruining it with facts.

      Shame! I said SHAME! on you!

    • I also find it quite amusing that this was proposed by a supposedly (central) left wing party. I have no party affiliation, and been looking for alternatives. I found MLS [] (Movimento Liberal Social) rather interesting. If you look at their website, they covered this issue as well as ACTA on their front page. They also seem pretty big free software. And as a bonus are for a stronger separation of church and state. And they are not an extremist party in any sense. I'm surprised they don't get more publicity,
      • I have no idea where you're from, but in America, ALL of our parties would be to the left of theirs. Even the Christian right is... SANE and defends the standard doctrine of european social safeguards :)
        They can pass all the laws they want. We don't have the means or the will to enforce them. We're a narrow strip of shore, back when we actually had borders, before joining the EU, contraband was the norm.
        Half of Portugal can get to Spain in less than an hour.

  • exponential (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mechtech256 ( 2617089 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @05:36AM (#39670935)
    A tax that increases at an exponential rate, what more could a government hope for!
  • by arkhan_jg ( 618674 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @05:38AM (#39670951)

    As I understand EU free-trade rules, as long as the appropriate taxes are paid in the country where goods are bought (inside the EU), the government cannot then levy additional taxes when imported, either directly (in the boot of a car) or when shipped.

    So this just seems a great proposal to kill all domestic sales of electronic goods with drives in - iPads, smartphones, photocopiers, laptops - and relocate them to Spain instead. I'm sure the Spanish government wouldn't mind, but it doesn't like it's going to do much to help Portugese debt.

    • by sFurbo ( 1361249 )
      At least for VAT, they have a system in place: The seller has to charge VAT. If his sales to country X is less than a certain amount per year (which I can't find right now), he must pay his countries VAT. If it is more than that amount, he has to pay the recieving countries VAT.

      This, combined with the fact that Britain has 0% VAT on books, means you should order your books from small, British internet stores. is no good, as they will be over the limit for most countries.
  • Old & Inaccurate (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 13, 2012 @05:38AM (#39670953)

    It was not a proposal to avoid becoming 'the next Greece'. It was a proposal to "help" artists.
    In reality it was just another levy (we have several) to benefit some corrupt goons on a local "rights" association. And as you might guess it, they don't help artists that much. Just their pockets.

    It's old because the parliament shot it down after an active online campaign by internet activists and a couple of politicians with common sense.

  • by geogob ( 569250 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @05:39AM (#39670957)

    ... how do they expect this to work !? People will simply buy storage in other EU countries. But I doubt anyway that such a farce could ever pass.

    • Something like this is already in Finland [].
      • Depends... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by AliasMarlowe ( 1042386 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @07:29AM (#39671509) Journal

        Something like this is already in Finland [].

        The rates in Finland are somewhat lower than those proposed for Portugal. Moreover, elsewhere on that site [] they say what consumers get in return: "Everyone is allowed to copy published works, such as music, movies, television and radio broadcasts for their own private use in Finland."

        It is also quite clear [] that the compensation allows copying of movies and music on disks borrowed from libraries and suchlike. No doubt, the RIAA and MPAA would be a little queasy at such provisions in larger markets.

  • by moronoxyd ( 1000371 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @06:00AM (#39671043)

    That means a 2TB device will in fact pile on €51.2 in taxes alone (2.5 cents times 2048GB).

    Since when do manufacturers of hard drives use Base 2 to describe the size of their hard drives?
    They don't, so it should be 50 € (2.5 cent times 2000 GB).

  • Incorrect in summary and article.

    • a 64GB iPhone could be €32 more expensive

      Isn't 64 x €0.02 closer to €1.28? Even at the originally quoted €0.2 that sounds very high.

      • There are different tariffs for different types of storage, the €0.02 tax figure I corrected is for hard disks of 150GB to 1TB, with smaller hard disks being tax exempt and larger hard drives at slightly higher tax (€0.025).

        Mobile phones and similar (MP3 players?) would be taxed at €0.50 per GB so yes, a 64GB iPhone would be €32 more expensive.

        USB pens and memory cards, €0.06 per GB.

        Possibly the most ridiculous of all, photocopiers and multi-function printers will be taxed by how ma

        • Thanks for the clarification. If something like this were to be enacted, I guess it would be fantastic news for the electronics shops near the border in Spain.
    • by necro81 ( 917438 )
      Ok, so they aren't doing any better than Verizon [].
  • by Radak ( 126696 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @06:12AM (#39671077) Journal

    I can understand that taxes might be aggravating, but was this summary written by a third grader? I'm pretty sure submitter meant aggregated (or more likely aggregate).

    (He/she also meant affect.)

  • Lobby a bill that makes it illegal for ordinary citizens to buy their own storage, and require everyone to use a cloud server that is "government approved". Then regularly check said cloud server for "illegal content" (government will try to just say this is CP they are looking for at first), and then royally screwing you over if they find something.
  • The price for a 2TB hard drive should only be $50, not $51.20 (sorry, don't have the euro symbol), since the size of drives have never been listed in base 2.

    As for the topic at hand, that seems really crazy. That's about half the price of the hard drive in taxes alone.

  • Meanwhile, in Italy (Score:3, Informative)

    by deepsky ( 11076 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @06:30AM (#39671151) Homepage

    the government has considered taxing SMSs by 0.02€ each. (This is not a joke)

  • I hope this tax will also apply to people renting out cloud storage or it will just mean more money leaving the country for them.
  • Just one more tax and I'm sure all of the country's money problems will be solved. Just ONE more... Honest!

  • If they want to price storage out of the hands of the end users and thus cripple themselves then more power to them.

    A tax like that is not going to do a damn thing for them because people won't be able to afford them and will either do without (and we get to read many MANY articles about how their aging tech running their government goes "tits up" on them) causing the government to not get any money or they find ways to smuggle the hard drives in on the black market also denying the government their tax mon

  • by jackhererUK ( 992339 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @07:19AM (#39671443)
    If you are going create an arbitrary tax on the size of something that affects an arbitrary section of the population why not create a penis size tax. It could be entirely self declared with no verification. The results should be made available on a public register, listed in order of length x girth. I'm sure that would raise a fortune.
  • Why pretend you're taxing businesses with a tax on technology? Just tax the businesses. Tax the things that most depend on government operations and expenses to work properly. Tax the things that actually make money that can be collected. Tax the things that cause sudden public expenses that must be bailed out.

    Just put a sales tax on everything except necessities (used/homemade clothing, raw food, the cheapest 20% of shelter in each postal code and their utilities, minimum healthcare cost, public education,

  • by gelfling ( 6534 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @07:36AM (#39671541) Homepage Journal

    See the efficacy of taxes is where you gouge something that most people can't or don't want to do without like gasoline, alcohol, tobacco. Cell phones are ubiquitous to the point where even the UN considers them a basic human right. So naturally the plan must be to gouge and gouge and gouge some more. Double, triple, quadruple the cost of handsets and data transmission.

  • Even though this proposal seems to have been shelved (for now?), it is still a silly move in the context of the EU's Common Market. Here in Germany, there's a similar tax on blank media, but you can always buy them blank-media-tax-free from Luxemburg and other EU countries that don't have this extra tax. And it is perfectly legal to do so too, because EU laws trump local laws (more precisely, EU laws as imported in national laws have higher precedence over other national laws).
  • What is with all these bastards freeloading on the backs of others?

    Their mindset: "Oh, you have something popular? Here, let us tax it, so we can get in on some of that money."

  • ...NOT. Even JFK knew better than that (he cut taxes... something his party doesn't like to talk about).

"Everyone's head is a cheap movie show." -- Jeff G. Bone