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Non-dinosaurian post, but potentially important

A friend sent this to me, and advised me to pass it along; the first people 
who came to mind were, of course, the List. I don't know how much there is to 
all this, but since it potentially affects us all, I decided to spread this 
post around a bit. Apologies for the non-paleo, non-dinosaurian nature of the 

Date: Tue, 25 May 1999 00:07:21 +0000
Message-ID: <19990525.002008.-139767.0.Sandog@juno.com>

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 bureaucratic inefficiency.

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

Send this e-mail to EVERYONE on your list, and tell all your friends and
relatives to write to their congressman and say "No!"  to  Bill 602P.
It will only take a few moments of your time, and could very well be
instrumental in killing a bill we don't want.

 Kate Turner
 Assistant to Richard Stepp, Berger, Stepp and Gorman