Update: Seth Finklestein has more on this. Although things are pointing to the press running away with an off-context quote, having someone even mentioning the idea (even as an example if not a concrete measure) is still inexcusable. Furthermore, the assumption that you can track SMS usage geographically is an indication of how little politicians (from whatever nation) are in touch with reality - are they assuming that user location data can be used for that? That it's even legal to do so?
Tip of the hat to Matt for the best take on the issue yet.
After the new data retention laws (welcome to 1984, which is scheduled to arrive by 2008 - take my tip and buy stock in storage companies) and the fracas of the EU patent legislation (which is scheduled to go round the carousel again soon), now we have some bright spark wanting to tax e-mail and SMS, and as a way to fund the monstrously bloated EU bureaucracy, no less.
Like I've written many times before, I don't do politics - at all. I don't even discuss local political issues.
But that doesn't mean I can't have an opinion on the ideas tabled by people in office, and this one is easily the dumbest, most self-serving idea I've seen from the EU this year, not to mention it's utterly pointless (how many Europeans use US-managed mail services?).
Update: a friend just pointed out that the proposed tax values for an SMS are (get this) more than what he pays for message on his tariff plan. Brilliant...
And we pay real taxes on real assets to finance a behemoth, inefficient bureaucracy that spawns these outlandish notions to further finance itself?
I trust my appointed European representatives to completely miss the point and vote for this motion, further compounding my current understanding of their ability to discuss anything related to technology and come out on the sane side of the argument.