Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft

FC: HOAX: US Postal Service seeking 5-cents email ta

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Date:          Fri, 21 May 1999 15:25:49 -0400
From:          Declan McCullagh <>
Subject:       FC: HOAX: US Postal Service seeking 5-cents email tax

This message being circulated among some conservative groups is a

There is no bill number 602P in the US Congress. There is no US
Congressman named "Tony Schnell," or for that matter any Virginia
state legislator by that name. There is no law firm "Berger, Stepp and
Gorman" in Vienna, Virginia. There is no Washington-area lawyer by the
name of "Richard Stepp."

There may be plenty of reasons to worry about the US Postal Service
and technology
(, but
fortunately the Internet is safe from this particular threat.


>Hello folks,
>Please read the following carefully if you intend to
>stay online and continue using email:
>The last few months have revealed an alarming trend in the Government
>of the United States attempting to quietly push through legislation
>that will affect your use of the Internet. Under proposed legislation
>the U.S. Postal Service will be attempting to bilk email users out of
>"alternate postage fees".
>Bill 602P will permit the Federal Govt to charge a 5 cent surcharge
>on every email delivered, by billing Internet Service Providers at
>source. The consumer would then be billed in turn by the ISP.
>Washington D.C. lawyer Richard Stepp is working without pay to
>prevent this legislation from becoming law.
>The U.S. Postal Service is claiming that
>lost revenue due to the proliferation of email is
>costing nearly $230,000,000 in revenue per year. You
>may have noticed their recent ad campaign "There is
>nothing like a letter". Since the average citizen
>received about 10 pieces of email per day in 1998, the
>cost to the typical individual would be an additional
>50 cents per day, or over $180 dollars per year, above
>and beyond their regular Internet costs. Note that
>this would be money paid directly to the U.S. Postal
>Service for a service they do not even provide.
>The whole point of the Internet is democracy and non-interference. If
>the federal government is permitted to tamper with our liberties by
>adding a surcharge to email, who knows where it will end. You are
>already paying an exorbitant price for snail mail because of
>bureacratic efficiency. It currently takes up to 6 days for a letter
>to be delivered from New York to Buffalo. If the U.S. Postal Service
>is allowed to tinker with email, it will mark the end of the "free"
>Internet in the United States.
>One congressman, Tony Schnell (R) has even suggested a
>"twenty to forty dollar per month surcharge on all
>Internet service" above and beyond the government's
>proposed email charges. Note that most of the major
>newspapers have ignored the story, the only exception
>being the Washingtonian which called the idea of email
>surcharge "a useful concept who's time has come"
>March 6th 1999 Editorial) Don't sit by and watch your
>freedoms erode away!
>Send this email to all Americans on your list and tell
>your friends and relatives to write to their
>congressman and say "No!" to Bill 602P. Kate Turner
>Assistant to Richard Stepp, Berger, Stepp and Gorman
>Attorneys at Law 216 Concorde Street, Vienna, Va.
>It's the action, not the fruit of the action that's
>important. You have to do the right thing...You may
>never know what results come from your action. But if
>you do nothing, there will be no result. (Gandhi)

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