ARCHIVED  December 1, 1996

Internet lobbying group girds for tax, fee battles

The fight against regulation and taxation of the Internet is gaining further ground with the formation of the National Association of Internet Users Inc.

The group, founded in Mount Dora, Fla., and still in its infancy, was incorporated last month with the intent of gearing up for the 105th Congress and legislation that might stifle Internet users.
Randy Wiseman, executive director of NAIU, said he feels there is no voice at the federal level to advocate for Internet users.
“There were a couple of bills last session where some lawmakers were looking at the Internet as a funding source,” he said.
He intends to track all bills related to the Internet and lobby according to NAIU’s resources.
“Over the past few years, there have been laws introduced and passed that have been necessary, stopping the spread of child pornography, for example,” Wiseman said. “There have also been attempts to control Internet activity and use.”
This session, he expects attempts to tax access providers and charges similar to postage stamps for services such as e-mail.
“The federal government should not get involved in the day-to-day concerns of Internet commerce or see it as a new funding source,” he said.
Jeff Moe, owner of Verinet Communications of Fort Collins, said he is not familiar with the newly formed group but does think organizations like it can be helpful.
“There are lots of interest groups on the Internet,” he said, noting The Electronic Frontier Foundation, or EFF, is one of the best-known organizations fighting for civil liberties on the Internet.
“Certainly, tax issues are a concern,” Moe said.
Already, the city of Fort Collins this year began taxing Internet providers.
The NAIU’s Wiseman said he will update members with quarterly newsletters and periodic alerts.
“We’ll use our membership as a lobbying tool,” he said. “We’re going to have a legislative committee … I want to get a lot of things going.”
A one-year membership
in the new organization is as follows:
n Individual: $10
n Businesses with a presence online: $50
n Internet access providers: $75
n Those involved in Internet commerce: $100.
“The key is to keep an eye on Congress,” Wiseman said.
Internet roundupLarimer County’s Web site can be reached at http://www.co.larimer.co.us.Three local radio stations have jumped onto the World Wide Web. The Bear 107.9 FM has a new Web site at http://www.kpaw.com. The site includes audio, giveaways, concert schedules, and other features.
Sister station 1410 KCOL has a new Web site at http://www.kcol.com. The site features events, news and sports linkages.
And the third radio station in the Twin Eagles radio chain, Eagle Country 96.1 FM has a site at http://kgll.com. The site includes information about people and activities at The Eagle.Rocky Mountain Internet Inc. of Denver is offering online greeting cards for the holiday season.
The service allows customers to purchase a temporary Web site to be used as a greeting card through Jan. 31.
Rocky Mountain Internet’s staff designs and builds the sites, which can include color photographs and other graphics. Once the site is created, Rocky Mountain Internet will announce its location via e-mail to a customer’s business associates, friends or family members. Cost is $59 for a basic card, $79 for an advanced card.
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The fight against regulation and taxation of the Internet is gaining further ground with the formation of the National Association of Internet Users Inc.

The group, founded in Mount Dora, Fla., and still in its infancy, was incorporated last month with the intent of gearing up for the 105th Congress and legislation that might stifle Internet users.
Randy Wiseman, executive director of NAIU, said he feels there is no voice at the federal level to advocate for Internet users.
“There were a couple of bills last session where some lawmakers were looking at the Internet as a funding source,” he said.

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