A new tax on e-mail ?

John Hansen hansen@fredonia.edu
Fri, 11 Jun 1999 12:00:04 -0400

At 11:23 AM 6/11/99 -0400, Andre' Kesteloot wrote:
>> >>Date: Wed, 2 Jun 1999 14:11:06 +0300
>> >>To: Stomcc@aol.com
>> >>From: John Pack <pack@aegeancenter.org>
>> >>Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
>> >>
>> >>Dear Internet Subscriber:
>> >>Please read the following carefully if you intend to stay
>> >>online and continue using email:

It is awfully easy for rumors to get started on the Internet.  It might be
a good idea to check this sort of thing out at least minimally before
retransmitting it.  Here are a couple of facts:

1. There is no law firm of Berger, Stepp and Gorman (or any firm that is
even close) in Vienna, Virginia.

2.  Apparently this rumor has circulated in Canada as well.  Here is
something I turned up by doing a Yahoo search on Berger, Stepp and Gorman:

Subject: Re: Tax on Internet Service 

The following item is for information purposes only. After a number of
inquiries received by Help Desk, we realize the general public wants to
know the results of the research. Recently an
e-mail has been circulating, suggesting ...

F. Canada Post is proposing charging a fee to internet users for each
e-mail sent.

This has been investigated, found to be incorrect, and here is an excerpt
from a response ...

The analysis:
1. There is no current "Bill 602P" before parliament. Bills are numbered as
C-# or S-# depending on whether the begin in the commons or the senate. You
can see the current list of bills
before parliament at: http://www.parl.gc.ca/cgi-bin/36/pb_gob.pl?e

2. Toronto Star was checked for references to this. All that was found were
some stories about the recent ad campaign. They did mention that Canada
Post had lost revenue due to email.
However, there was no mention of this bill, this scheme, or this lawyer.
Also, there was no editorial about this on the OpEd page on March 6, 1999.
You can view this page at:

3. A call to directory assistance in Toronto revealed that not only was
there no law firm in Toronto by the name Berger, Stepp, and Gorman, there
was no lawyer or person in Toronto by the
name Richard Stepp.

3. And the following from CNNfn:

              By Robert MacMillan and Martin
              Stone, Newsbytes. Before letting your
              Doberman pinscher off the leash next
              time the mailman comes by, or firing
              off an angry salvo at Postmaster
              General William Henderson, keep in
              mind that the latest Internet rumor
              circulating about the US Postal Service
              applying an e-mail tax is a hoax. 
               US e-mail account holders now are
              receiving a rumor in their inboxes that
              first surfaced in Canada last month. As
              Newsbytes reported, the Canada Post
              Corp. said it was surprised by
              complaints that they were planning to
              tax e-mail to pick up on declining
              revenues from regular snail-mail. 
               Recently, many hundreds of e-mail
              messages have been circulated stating
              that Canada Post hopes to institute a
              5-cent tax on e-mail. 
               The hoax message, complete with
              what appears to be the address of a
              Toronto law firm, states that Canada
              Post hopes to earn $23 million (CDN)
              annually through the tax. The message
              claimed that Canada Post and the
              federal government were conspiring to
              quietly push the bill through procedures
              and into law. 
               The US version of the rumor claims
              that the US government wants to
              recoup on $230 million, 10 times the
              original reported amount. 
               But sharp-eyed recipients soon
              detected that the mailing was a sham.
              The law firm that claims to have sent
              the missive does not exist, nor does the
              proposed Bill 602P, nor does its
              supposed sponsor, Liberal Member of
              Parliament Tony Schnell. 
               Likewise the US version of the hoax
              reads that the "evil" Republican
              Congressman Tony Schnell (apparently
              he switched parties when he crossed
              over from the Great White North) is
              looking into the idea of charging an
              extra $20 to $40 per month as an ISP


I was able to turn this up with less than 5 minutes of searching on the
Web.  After this consider at least some superficial research before
spreading rumors.


73, John, W2FS