Apparently, the United Nations has been pressing for a global internet tax that would hit Google, Facebook, Apple, and Netflix. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a subset of the UN, wants to add a provision to a current treaty that would impose costs on popular websites and their network providers for non-U.S. users. Both the Obama administration and Republicans in Congress have raised the issue as a significant danger.
The Europeans essentially want a share of the pie they have done nothing to build. As CNET.com reports, “European network providers and phone companies have been bitterly complaining about U.S. content-providing companies for some time.”
Such fees could cause U.S. companies to stop providing internet in developing countries, thereby harming their potential economic upswings. Unlike the U.N. Security Council, the ITU runs like the General Assembly, with each country getting one vote. Even if the U.S. doesn’t ratify the new treaty, U.S. companies could face tariffs from countries that do.