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Gizmodo: Hungarians take to the streets to protest "Internet tax"

Wed, 10/29/2014 - 14:41 -- Meghan Sali

Thousands of Hungarians took to the streets of Budapest this past Sunday night to push back against the proposed "Internet tax" that would place a levy on every gigabyte of transferred data. Turns out the people weren't fans of the new plan.

Article by Atilla Nagy for Gizmodo

There was something strange in the air in Budapest on Sunday evening. Mostly, it was computer parts and outdated peripherals—flying through the closed windows of the headquarters of the ruling political party, called Fidesz.

You may ask why that's happening in Hungary, a democratic member of the European Union and part of NATO, ally of the United States. Well, about twenty thousand Hungarians were protesting against a planned new tax on Internet data transfers, and against Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government, accused of adopting anti-democratic, anti-NATO and anti-European Union policies.

On tuesday several news outlets unveiled that the government wants to levy 150 forints (that's $0.61) on each transferred gigabyte of data, to plug holes in the 2015 budget of one of the EU's most indebted nations. The tax would be fair, explained economy Minister Mihaly Varga, as it reflects a shift by consumers to the internet, away from taxed phone lines. Analysts responded that no such tax is known beyond the borders of Hungary, and that it would impede equal access to the Internet, deepen the digital divide between Hungary's lower economic groups, and limit Internet access for cash-poor schools and universities.

Read more at Gizmodo