On June 15th the Federal Trade Commission is going to hold a live web cast entitled "How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age?". Details on the event are listed here. Comments on this event can be left here.
By now you are wondering what this has to do with Embedded Systems or Software Safety. That is explained by this document: POTENTIAL POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS TO SUPPORT THE REINVENTION OF JOURNALISM.
It comes down to the FTC in Government Double Speak is proposing many onerous Taxes and Fees (Taxes are not popular so raise the Fees that don't have the Tax stigma yet), on the products that you and I design.
Just a couple of highlights, of the many, many, new taxes to be discussed at the meeting:
Tax on consumer electronics. A five percent tax on consumer electronics would generate approximately $4 billion annually.
Advertising taxes. They note a considerable amount of our broadcast spectrum has been turned over to disseminating commercial advertisements, and a two percent sales tax on advertising would generate approximately $5 to $6 billion annually. In addition, they suggest that changing the tax write-off of all advertising as a business expense in a single year to a write-off over a 5-year period would generate an additional $2 billion per year.
It goes down hill from there with Them wanting to copyright "Facts" so only News Papers can use them...
Between approximately the year 1439 when Gutenberg invented the Printing Press and the year 1710 when the Copyright was created, information was controlled by the Printing Guilds. It seems that the FTC wants to turn the clock back by 300 years:
"...amending the copyright laws to create a content license fee (perhaps $5.00 to $7.00) to be paid by every Internet Service Provider on each account it provides."
Read this commentary on the report, mostly on how public input is being ignored by Them, by Jeff Jarvis of the New York Post, who tells them "Get of my lawn!". Mr. Jarvis raises the question who asked the FTC to 'help'?
About the FTC reads in part:
When the FTC was created in 1914, its purpose was to prevent unfair methods of competition in commerce as part of the battle to 'bust the trusts.'"
So now the FTC views Internet as the 'Trust' that needs busted. Is the FTC just killing off the trust they can not control, to support the trust that they can control?
I find it interesting that this event is being held at a 'Club', at our expense most likely, the National Press Club specifically. If you don't understand why Government meetings at clubs are bad for you and I, then you need to consider a speech given before the National Economists Club in Washington, D.C. on November 21, 2002 by Ben S. Bernanke:
"What has this got to do with monetary policy? Like gold, U.S. dollars have value only to the extent that they are strictly limited in supply. But the U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press (or, today, its electronic equivalent), that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost. By increasing the number of U.S. dollars in circulation, or even by credibly threatening to do so, the U.S. government can also reduce the value of a dollar in terms of goods and services, which is equivalent to raising the prices in dollars of those goods and services. We conclude that, under a paper-money system, a determined government can always generate higher spending and hence positive inflation." - Ben S. Bernanke current chairmen of the Federal Reserve.
So we can see that as long as eight years ago it was already in the planing stages for Them to put the screws to you and I!
I'm Taxed Enough Already, how about you?