Microsoft's Tax-For-Hacks 'Horrible' Idea, Say Security Experts

Friday Mar 5th 2010 by Staff

Microsoft security chief Scott Charney suggested earlier this week that taxes could pay for efforts to thwart hackers, but analysts give that approach the thumbs down.

Computerworld: This week, Scott Charney, Microsoft's vice president for its Trustworthy Computing group, suggested that taxes might be necessary to combat cybercriminals. So far, the analysts aren't buying it.

"The idea of a general Net tax is a horrible idea," said John Pescatore, Gartner's security analyst. "Why not a tax on all retail goods for a standard antishoplifting service all merchants would have to use?"

Wolfgang Kandek, chief technology officer at security company Qualys, agreed. "I have a hard time seeing [a tax] work. The Internet is an international body; you can't regulate it, and you cannot levy a tax. ISPs might have to up their fees to pay for something like this, I can see that, but a tax that brings government into play -- I can't see that."

Others warned more pragmatically that consumers will end up footing the bill for security one way or the other, whether they pay taxes to the government or fees to ISPs or higher prices to technology vendors.

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