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Microsoft VP Suggests 'Net Tax To Clean Computers 577

Posted by kdawson
from the sure-to-go-over-well dept.
Ian Lamont writes "Microsoft's Vice President for Trustworthy Computing, Scott Charney, speaking at the RSA conference in San Francisco, has floated an interesting proposal to deal with infected computers: Approach the problem of dealing with malware infections like the healthcare industry, and consider using 'general taxation' to pay for inspection and quarantine. Using taxes to deal with online criminal activity is not a new idea, as demonstrated by last year's Louisiana House vote to levy a monthly surcharge on Internet access to deal with online baddies."
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Microsoft VP Suggests 'Net Tax To Clean Computers

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  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @06:05PM (#31336504)

    Most of the major ISPs in the US are providing a free brand-name anti-virus product if users will just download it. Even if you don't get that, it's about $15/year to stay up to date at Best Buy. The problem here isn't that people can't afford anti-virus... it's that they can't be bothered to use it.

    Maybe the route some universities have taken of fines and downtime for those caught spreading malware or spam, knowingly or not, is what we need.

    • by snowraver1 (1052510) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @06:08PM (#31336544)
      Microsoft Security Essentials is free too, and works pretty good.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by HermMunster (972336)

        I clean this stuff off computers every day in my business as part of doing business in my shop. You can't honestly say that Security Essentials is top notch. It is a good product in that it doesn't nag you like AVG does and it isn't as heavy on the system as AVG, Norton, and McAfee. As far as malware detection goes it only knows so much and what it does know isn't that much. I use it as a final scan not as the main scan because it doesn't have the teeth of some of the other free products.

        It's an OK prod

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MikeFM (12491)
        Or you can just avoid using Microsoft OSes and products and you'll be more secure. I say lets go for a tax. $100/yr per Windows machine.
    • by Lendrick (314723) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @06:21PM (#31336750) Homepage Journal

      Can't be bothered?

      Have you *used* anti-virus software lately? It takes over your computer and bogs everything down by scanning at irritating times, like every file access.

      I don't use anti-virus software, except for the occasional one-off malware scan. I don't get viruses because I don't do stupid shit.

      * I don't trust free downloads unless they're open source, or a google on "$SOFTWARE spyware" comes up clean.
      * I don't browse porn (or anything else) on internet explorer.
      * I don't browse porn with adblock turned off.
      * I don't download stupid free desktop frills, like smileys and crap.
      * I don't open obvious spam, even if it appears to be from my friends.
      * When a webpage informs me that it has SCANNED MY COMPUTER and VIRUS DETECTED, I remember that I did not, in fact, install a virus scanner, and that the message is fake, and I do not have to install their special software to fix it. Instead, I close the web page.
      * When doing p2p file-sharing, I use clients that are well known and spyware free.
      * I don't put audio CDs into my machine when I'm running Windows, because they might install rootkits.
      * I always click the "advanced" button when I install software, because that's where they hide the fact that they're installing a bunch of extra shit I don't want.
      * Under no circumstances do I *ever* install Norton, which in my experience is far worse for performance than any virus.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        * When a webpage informs me that it has SCANNED MY COMPUTER and VIRUS DETECTED, I remember that I did not, in fact, install a virus scanner, and that the message is fake, and I do not have to install their special software to fix it. Instead, I close the web page.

        lol@that

        It's funny to see those pages on Linux. "OMG UR WINDOWS ARE INFECTED"

      • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @06:40PM (#31337086)
        Exactly. Lets see here, if I don't keep any confidential information on my computer, don't use it for e-commerce much (or you know, boot into Linux if I need to buy something which honestly I boot into Linux 90% of the time....) an anti-virus is going to use up more resources than a virus and negatively impact your experience.

        Lets see here an average anti-virus is going to:

        A) Waste lots of network resources downloading updates
        B) Constantly use up I/O resources scanning every file
        C) Mess with defaults
        D) Use a completely different theme ruining whatever aesthetic pleasure there was in Windows
        E) Constantly use CPU time
        F) Constantly say that your subscription has OMG 60 DAYS LEFT!!!! THATS LESS THAN 3 MONTHS!!!! Usually when giving a presentation
        G) Interrupt gaming
        H) Ignore all -real- threats like the Sony Rootkit and the like

        An average virus is going to

        Use some I/O resources finding sensitive files, use light network resources sending spam and generally work in the background.

        My experience is going to be less interrupted with a virus than an AV.
        • by pookemon (909195) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @07:51PM (#31338102) Homepage
          See I read your rant, and the one above it as "I used Norton's once so all virus scanners are bad".

          I've been using Avast for the last few years. Free for home use and a damn good product.

          A) Sure it updates almost every day - but it has almost no impact on my network (and I'm from Oz where "Broadband" means a bit faster than dial up).
          B) Its impact when scanning is not noticable. It scans the file you modify or try to open.
          C) WTF? What defaults? The "I can download and run viruses by default" defaults?
          D) Avast 99% of the time is a pair of icons in your system tray. If the look and feel of your virus scanner is one of you concerns then your worried about the wrong thing...
          E) Avast doesn't constantly use CPU time. A decent virus scanner of any kind would us OS Hooks to identify when it needs to look at files/processes. It won't need to be doing anything unless you are and then it only needs a quick look at the file/process to see if it recognises it.
          F) Avasts free license expires every 12 months. It takes around a minute to renew. Big deal.
          G) *sigh* Seriously. There are millions of gamers around the world that have virus scanners installed. There's also quite a number of game developers with virus scanners installed. When was the last time that you read that your virus scanner should be disabled before playing game ? Sure the downloads of updates can cause a few moments of lag - but big deal.
          H) I'm sorry but WTF? Sure Sony's rootkit can be considered a threat. But REAL threats are actually more things like Confiker, Trojans etc. Viruses etc. that (a) might destroy your PC, (b) be used as part of a botnet, (c) steal your personal data etc.

          You're worried about how you virus scanner looks, and a slight interruption to your gaming, but not about the impact of having a virus. The fact that that virus may wipe your machine, cause your machine to be responsible for attacking other machines, or cause masses of SPAM e-mail to be sent out doesn't concern you? I take it then that your ISP doesn't care that you might be responsible for infecting other machines, sending SPAM etc.

          Take your tinfoil hat off and go out and get some sunshine.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by imakemusic (1164993)

            I use Avast! too and it's quite goo-VIRUS DATABASE HAS BEEN UPDATED!

            Just make sure you turn the sounds off...

      • I've tried to fight this fight. People don't get it. Oh, people here will -- though a disturbing number insist that antivirus is required -- but the populace at large won't ever understand what you've laid out above. I've given up on figuring out why. The rules are simple: 1) Don't use IE. [sorry, I know it can be safe, but this is way easier than trying to explain when/where/how it's safe] 2) don't install software unless it's from a trusted source. Your friends are not trusted sources. Nor are the links that they forward. Neither is twitter. 3) use a web-based email that does not download images by default -- minimally don't use Outlook/Outlook Express. 4) noscript is probably a good idea.

        I've been virus free for decades now, following these basic rules, and without running A/V save a monthly offline Clam scan to make sure I haven't caught a case of the stupids when I wasn't looking.

        I'd rather see ISPs voluntarily cracking down on spam-generating machines than be forced to pay a tax in an attempt to make up for my neighbor*'s ignorance.

        *For extremely large values of "neighbor".

        • I fully agree with ISPs taking down the accounts of compromised machines, and calling the owner to let them know that they won't be allowed back online until they get the machine cleaned (which will likely cost money.)

          I do not agree with the idea of a general "tax" to pay for the stupidity of people who insist on breaking the above common-sense rules. Why should I pay for someone else's ignorant behaviour?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by the_womble (580291)

          [quote]I'd rather see ISPs voluntarily cracking down on spam-generating machines than be forced to pay a tax in an attempt to make up for my neighbor*'s ignorance. [/quote]

          Why not fine the owners of spam generating machines to fund it, rather than using general taxation? That way, as long as you keep your PC malware free, you do not pay.

      • by tukang (1209392) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @07:04PM (#31337460)
        Do you view pdf files or flash content?
    • There are lots of free anti-virus options, no need to even pay $15.00 a year.

      I have been using Avast for years now, its great. AVG also still has basic protection for free also.

      It's not the cost, the main reason people have no anti-virus or out of date anti-virus is because they don't care enough or understand enough to care.

      The trial-ware anti-virus approach also is something I think should be stopped. Too many people think "Oh Mcaffee was included with my computer, I don't have to get an anti-virus." N

    • by dave562 (969951)

      The problem is that anti-virus alone can't handle malware. It does a pretty good job, but all it takes is one zero day Flash exploit, or a website with a compromised iFrame and your compute^H^H^HWindows box is hosed. By the time anti-virus starts throwing warnings, it is generally because the computer is already infected and it is trying to download other components that the AV software actually has signatures for.

    • by haruchai (17472) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @06:44PM (#31337146)

      M$ are the last people who should be calling for a tax since it's their broken shit that caused decades of headaches.
      Yes they've gotten better but that doesn't wipe out all the crap we'd had to live with all these years.

        However, I think the real issue for a lot of users who aren't savvy is that they might be fed up of the bloatware
      crap like Symantec / Norton / McAfee which (used to?) suck so much in terms of CPU usage and disk activity.

      Better, cheaper alternatives have been around for years - AntiVir, AVG, Kaspersky, for example.
      And I must say that Microsoft Security Essentials isn't half bad.

      Instead of their stupid EULA, perhaps M$ should put up a warning during install or first run that a security product
      is required and used the lack of one as an automatic shutdown after 2 weeks instead of their activation.

    • by dweller_below (136040) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @08:08PM (#31338310)

      Maybe the route some universities have taken of fines and downtime for those caught spreading malware or spam, knowingly or not, is what we need.

      I do IT security for one of those universities. Our IT is extremely decentralized. There are some central services. The network is managed centrally. But the majority of the computers are managed by individuals, departments, and colleges in whatever way they see best.

      We charge a reconnect fee as part of our standard network security incident response. When we determine that a system is compromised, we disconnect it, and notify the owner. We reconnect it as soon as the owner pays the reconnect fee. The fee is $25 for the first reconnect and $50 for each reconnect after the first time. The fee is not kept by Security. It is transfered to the university Service desk.

      It may sound silly, but we can demonstrate that the reconnect fee is our single, most effective security measure. We have detailed data on detected compromise for years before and after the beginning of the reconnect fee. When we started imposing the reconnect fee, our rate of detected compromise dropped to 1/10th the prior level. We believe that prior to the reconnect fee, people really felt that there was no reason to worry about compromise.

      In the years that we have been doing this, it has always amazed me that such a small irritation can lead to so much behavioral change.

      Charging the entire university for each compromise would not have the same effect. By charging the university entity that owns the compromised computer, we change that entity's behavior. Even when we are effectively moving money from 1 pocket to another. The reconnect fee is always an unanticipated expense. The reconnect fee is always an irritant. In effect, we have created an institutional pain response to compromise. We can tell it is still working, because the university's community is still complaining about it. Once they stop complaining, we may have to up the fee.

      Miles

  • by HungryHobo (1314109) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @06:07PM (#31336536)

    Taxes are already being paid on online transactions and a cut of every bill from your ISP.

    The government can't handle the internet due to incompetence, not lack of money,

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by LostCluster (625375) *
      The rules of the House of Representatives require that if you propose a new government program that costs money, you also have to propose a tax or some way to pay for what you're doing... with the neutral CBO's stat-based "scoring" telling you when you're doing something level.
    • Taxes are already being paid on online transactions and a cut of every bill from your ISP.

      The government can't handle the internet due to incompetence, not lack of money,

      That's pretty funny. What Federal taxes do we pay on online transactions? What cut of the ISP bill does the government get? And are we talking about the same government that created the Internet, or is this monstrously incompetent government a different government?

      Maybe if the government is so incompetent, we should outsource such vital functions as roads and the armed services. Obviously, the private sector should be handling those services too, right? You like toll roads, right? Blackwater can easily do t

    • by nurb432 (527695) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @06:37PM (#31337020) Homepage Journal

      Personally, id rather the government stay out of my business.. If you demand they 'fix the problem', then they will be in your face every second you are online and you wont like the result.

  • Tax Credit? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Chris Lawrence (1733598) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @06:08PM (#31336540) Homepage

    Do Mac or Linux users get a tax credit?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      They get double the tax.

      Why? Because Mac and Linux are not Windows and therefore need special training for the cleaning crew.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Azureflare (645778)
        What are they cleaning?
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by compro01 (777531)

          The bit bucket needs regular emptying.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by NFN_NLN (633283)

          They get double the tax.

          Why? Because Mac and Linux are not Windows and therefore need special training for the cleaning crew.

          What are they cleaning?

          Child porn. Why would you use Mac or Linux unless you had something to hide?

    • Re:Tax Credit? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by royallthefourth (1564389) <royallthefourth@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @06:14PM (#31336646)

      People who do not have children to send to school, or oppose the wars, or do not drive cars do not get a tax credit.

      Taxes are a collective action, not an individual purchase.

      Then again, I wouldn't be surprised to see that happen given our legislators' feigned misunderstanding of progressive taxation or Keynesian spending.

      • Re:Tax Credit? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by LostCluster (625375) * on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @06:19PM (#31336702)

        New Hampshire believes in an environment where tolls, gas taxes, and registration fees pay for the roads, property taxes pay for police and fire protection, those who get lost in the woods are billed for their rescue, hunting licenses pay for the regulation of hunters....

        Basically, they have no sales or income tax, but you've got to pay for what you use. Want to save money? Stop doing wasteful things!

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Grishnakh (216268)

          With a ridiculous approach to taxation like that, how would an entire nation manage to pay for important things like invasions of foreign countries and bailing out mismanaged banks?

          Oh wait...

          • With a ridiculous approach to taxation like that, how would an entire nation manage to pay for important things like invasions of foreign countries and bailing out mismanaged banks?

            We already pay for bank mismanagement that way... all banks are required to have FDIC insurance, and all credit unions are required to either get FDIC coverage or an equal state program. Traditionally $100,000 of coverage has become $250,000 for the time being, again at the banks' expense. Some even carry more insurance than required so that they can reassure large depositors.

            War taxes? Those are usually left behind long after the war is paid for.

        • by spun (1352)

          Who pays for the schools? Do you only have private, for pay libraries in New Hampshire? Your emergency rooms turn away people who can't pay, contrary to Federal law? You've installed pay turnstiles at all your public parks?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by LatencyKills (1213908)
          And as a guy who lives in NH, I've got to say that this system works, but not for the reason that most people think. It's not that people who use the services pay for the services - the vast majority of waste is on the government side, not the user side. The reason that our system works is because it's inherently limited. You can't just raise X% of tax on the highest Y% of the earners, because you can't tell how much someone earns based upon the house they live in. Lots of people who have no or a fixed
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by nurb432 (527695)

      No, they get arrested since only terrorists wouldn't use Windows..

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @06:09PM (#31336554)

    Who do they think they are, bankers?

  • I totally agree (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pilgrim23 (716938) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @06:09PM (#31336560)
    Considering 99% of all infected machines out there in userland are running some Microsoft product; Microsoft SHOULD be taxed for each and every one of them, It is fortunate we have such an industry leader as Microsoft, fessing up to their own damn foolishness and offering to make good.
    • by nurb432 (527695)

      You do realize that the proposed tax will just be passed along to the consumer, right?

      • by Linux_ho (205887)
        Just like their profits have been? Newsflash: prices have almost nothing to do with costs. If Microsoft thinks consumers will accept a price increase without reducing purchase volume, we will get a price increase whether there's a new tax or not.
  • by Thinboy00 (1190815) <thinboy00 AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @06:09PM (#31336564) Journal

    Does this mean that clueful people with secure computers are going to be required to pay to help clueless people with insecure computers?

    • by cayenne8 (626475)
      z"Does this mean that clueful people with secure computers are going to be required to pay to help clueless people with insecure computers?"

      Yep, just like the govt. healthcare 'reform' coming up...wants you to pay for Jerome and Debbie Public down the block who can't seem to understand contraception, exercise, food that isn't fast food, and that smoking is bad for you.

      You might do things the right way...but the govt. is wanting you to also pony up for those that don't know or won't do the right things in

      • Yep, just like the govt. healthcare 'reform' coming up...wants you to pay for Jerome and Debbie Public down the block who can't seem to understand contraception, exercise, food that isn't fast food, and that smoking is bad for you

        Do you have a source for this? I don't believe it is at all true.

        The only thing even being considered at the moment is an individual mandate to buy insurance. It's total bullshit to anyone who doesn't own a health insurance company, but not because of the fictional situation you described.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Don't you love the government?

    • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @06:21PM (#31336732)

      Everyone benefits from an internet largely free of infected machines. Just as everyone benefits from an educated and healthy society.

      • by Zencyde (850968) <Zencyde@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @06:28PM (#31336860)
        But I DON'T benefit from an educated and healthy society! Have you seen our society? It's only healthy and educated by society's standards. But not MINE. Fuck you and your Internet tax I know how to freshly install a damn operating system when I need to.
      • by jdgeorge (18767)

        Everyone benefits from an internet largely free of infected machines. Just as everyone benefits from an educated and healthy society.

        Baloney. Only *******s benefit from an educated and healthy society. *******s benefit from the alternative.

        And yes, asterisks benefit from self-censors.

        (Go on, count them to figure out whether you're offended.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by e2d2 (115622)

      Paying for someone else's fuck up. A lot of that going around these days.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cheddarlump (834186)
      Why are you surprised? Those of us that work hard and succeed are taxed more to pay for the lazy, those of us who pay our medical bills are paying for those that receive ER care for free, and my property taxes are paying for a failed school system that I wouldn't let my kid set foot in. It was only a matter of time before somebody figured out a politically sell-able way to tax those that are ignorant about security online. Just wait, I would bet my right testicle that eventually there would be an add-on
    • by Spectre (1685)

      Usually, we already do. No matter how many "No, I won't effing fix your computer" T-shirts you own and wear, you still end up removing root-kits, eliminating spyware, and fixing damage done by the bits of malware for friends, relatives, or whoever. 'cause you "know about that stuff".

      I already pay, I don't need to be "taxed". Hell, I could use the excuse "I gave at the office" too ...

    • Dear Thinboy,

      We acknowledge your concern about the new Net Tax proposal, and would like to take a few moments to clarify our thoughts with you and other Microsoft product users. It has come to our understanding that there are many bad things on the internet. As you can tell from the last two decades, we here have been completely incapable at stopping these threats from manifesting. As such, our competitors are doing better and our profits are down. This usually means smaller bonuses for us in the Vice Presi

  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @06:10PM (#31336580) Homepage

    A special "insecure software" levy on software responsible for more than 10% of "owned" machines on the net would be more appropriate.

  • Deal. (Score:2, Flamebait)

    Microsoft should get taxed every time one of their crappy products lets in yet another piece of malware.
  • In other words, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by overshoot (39700) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @06:15PM (#31336664)
    Get the rest of us to underwrite cleaning up after Microsoft's sloppy software.

    It's not so much the principle of the thing as it is writing into law Microsoft's PR message that bugs in their software are "Computer Problems" or "Internet Problems."

    On the other hand, if the charges were discounted for running non-MS systems, I might change my mind.

    • Re:In other words, (Score:5, Interesting)

      by HalfFlat (121672) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @06:34PM (#31336958)

      Thanks to Microsoft, the typical computer user believes that sporadic crashing is unavoidable, machines and programs must be restarted periodically if they are to maintain efficiency, and that the threat of viruses is the price paid for the convenience of email. It has come to the point that recently, when trying to explain that it was important for long-running (scientific number-crunching) code to be careful about memory management, the people I was talking to refused to believe it was possible that a program could run for over a week without slowing down. Trying to convince people that the overhead of ECC in cost and speed for computers destined for number crunching is worthwhile is hard when they believe crashes and instability are as manageable and predictable as bad weather.

      Remember the days of breathless warnings about emails, which if read, would destroy your computer? And how Microsoft made the dream come true?

      I should not be surprised at the gall of Microsoft to suggest that this world-wide problem, born from their neglect and short-sightedness, should be addressed with public money.

  • by operagost (62405) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @06:16PM (#31336674) Homepage Journal

    1. Start a new program
    2. Institute a new tax
    3. Collect the tax, but don't put it in a lockbox.
    4. Taxes are thrown into the general fund, where they're used to buy favors from senators and congressmen.
    5. Program has no funding, is cut back and made useless except for an overpaid bureaucracy that does nothing.
    6. When fiscal conservatives propose scrapping the program, they are instead blamed for the shortfall and taxes are raised to "fix" it.
    7. Repeat from step 3.

  • I see how this works (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SoTerrified (660807) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @06:19PM (#31336714)

    Police: "This is a fine store you have here"

    Shop Owner: "Yes, I'm quite proud of it."

    P: "It would be a shame if something happened to your store... But for only 20% of your gross, we could protect it."

    SO: "But, I have no crime in my store. I have state of the art security cameras, proximity alarms, private security guards. I've spared no expense and made sure my store is secure"

    P: "True, but you see there's another shop down the street and it gets broken into every week. Someone has to pay for that."

  • Majority of the infected machines run MS software. Let MS pay one quarter of their revenue as the tax. This helps everybody in the world. Follow Bill Gates MS and do good to the world like him
  • I don't know about anyone else here, but I would be livid if where I lived I was taxed to disinfect computers while healthcare was a mess.

  • by NiteShaed (315799) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @06:21PM (#31336748)

    Why is it if you drive a car that's unsafe to operate and something happens, nobody thinks twice about the fact that it's the owner's responsibility and when they are hit with a fine everyone just nods, but if it's a computer that's in poor condition (ie: infected), it's an issue that the community must bear to clean up. I realize that not everyone is technically adept and able maintain their machines adequately themselves, but I don't want to pay for them. They can hire someone to maintain their machines for them, much like most people do for their cars now, and perhaps the fine could be waved or reduced if they prove that they were current on their maintenance and somehow still got hit. Hell, it'd be a potentially decent revenue stream for repair-shops and even ISPs that want to offer some kind of maintenance package.

    Of course, the problem here is that people don't feel they should pay for anything to do with a computer other than the price-tag they see when they go to BestBuy. They'll scream blue-murder if they're told that they actually have a responsibility, both financially and in how they operate their machine. Most people want to treat a computer the way they do their microwave oven, buy it, and if it breaks, replace it, but never, ever have to spend any time or money on maintenance.

  • Shove it. (Score:3, Informative)

    by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @06:22PM (#31336760)
    Or they could take their brilliant little plan and shove it. Then I will have to take care of my own security. I know it sounds impossible for a simpleton like myself to accomplish, but I'm sure I'll manage somehow.
  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @06:26PM (#31336818)

    I support it if I get a tax credit for not having any windows machines.

  • when you've become so big that you can viably get the government to forcibly extract money from people to facilitate you keeping your market share
  • WTF? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @06:28PM (#31336842)

    Approach the problem of dealing with malware infections like the healthcare industry, and consider using 'general taxation' to pay for inspection and quarantine.

    First off, there are two separate issues, one is that anyone can get sick, and in general, only badly configured -Windows- machines get malware. Yes, you -can- make Mac/Linux malware but other than a few isolated issues they aren't big deals.

    Secondly, the computer industry and the internet should not be taxed! I don't mind paying for -some- taxes because I get benefits because of it, defense, roads, etc. But what positive government involvement in the internet has occurred post-1990? Other than trying to regulate it, crushing internet freedoms and privacy the government hasn't done shit.

    Taxes should be akin to buying something in the store, you pay money, you get benefits. I pay taxes, I get protection, freedom to bear arms, unrestricted freedom of expression, etc. Just like I pay $200 and get a new Wii console.

  • FTS -

    Approach the problem of dealing with malware infections like the healthcare industry...

    I know most healthcare systems are BAD, but classifying them as malware is going a little far, isn't it ?

  • Now that we are in the business of popping out silly ideas, then why not hold commercial software accountable for their own security bugs in their products and make them liable to civil damages. All engineering fields have that, why not IT? If we need to solve a problem then we impose incentives to eliminate it. No one will ever eliminate a security problem by subsidizing an industry which relies on security problems for it's livelihood.

  • I would prefer that software vendors be held accountable for their products. Every other industry is.

    Though this is what former Cyber Security Czar Richard Clarke said at Blackhat in Vegas around 2003, and well... look what happened to his career after that.

  • This via door to door searches?

  • OK, I admit it's mostly an experiment for me to see what happens, but I also took offense to the endless popups from the McAfee software that was installed on my netbook when I purchased it.

    I don't tend to read email on the machine so it's not too susceptable to a bad attachment. I do download OSS goodies like Gimp, but I tend to only get them from places I trust, like sourceforge. I do use windows update. So I'll find out in a year or so if I really should have used the anti-virus. I suspect that the mach

  • We may *refer* to it as computer "care" and computer "health", but that doesn't mean it's anywhere near the importance of human healthcare. I think it's more in line with vehicle care than human health care and in that same vein, should we then have universal car repair? Computers are devices upon which we rely greatly.

    There should be no universal tax for someone (oh, gee... maybe Microsoft?) to delve into our computer, stumbling across private information, all in the name of "health". If I can fix my own c

    • by eepok (545733)

      Apparently, I forgot some words: "Computers are devices upon which we rely greatly, but not so much as our bodies and as such it follows that they don't require the same universal care."

  • by Chris Tucker (302549) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @06:37PM (#31337028) Homepage

    I run Mac OS X, you insensitive clod! Why should I pay to clean up YOUR CRAPPY OS?

    Hey, here's an idea: Why not fix WINDOWS so it's not such promiscuous virus/trojan/worm whore?

  • And I'd bet that they are also offering to collect that tax and manage it and the "cleaning" process.

    You know, Linux CDs are free. And, if our schools would get off their butts and realize their students would have an advantage if they were using and learning from open source software then there would also be a huge supply of cheap and eager youngsters ready to clean off the infected Windows botnets and install a version of GNU/Linux. No tax required. Oh wait, our gov and businesses are financially and sec
  • If I smoke, I am at risk, so my premium goes up. If I use MS products the same applies. Why should I be taxed if i am already conscious and proactive about being safe?

    Why not using something similar to a carbon-trade approach. Say you use Linux or Macs, you are already contributing to a safer environment. You can sell your shares to more "polluting" users (of MS products). That would be more fair, and in honesty more appropriate.
  • by Dracos (107777) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @06:58PM (#31337378)

    The company who is nearly single handedly the reason why there is an anti-virus industry wants a tax to pay for malware removal? F#$% off.

    We should fine MS $1000 for every infection on systems running their software. IE and Outlook exploits could probably pay off the US national debt in 10 years.

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