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Microsoft's tax-for-hacks 'horrible' idea, say security experts

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Microsoft's idea that the fight against malware could be funded by an Internet tax is "horrible," an analyst said Thursday as other experts weighed in on a recent comment by the company's security chief.

Earlier this week, Scott Charney, Microsoft's vice president for its Trustworthy Computing group, said that while there are plenty of ways to combat malware, scrub infected PCs and take down botnets, no one wanted to foot the bill.

"Maybe markets will make it work," Charney said, but then added that an Internet usage tax might be the solution. "You could say it's a public safety issue and do it with general taxation," Charney said.

"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?" A business, he said, can now select what it thinks is the best anti-malware solution, but that choice would presumably vanish if funding for battling the bad guys went national.



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