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The Modem Tax

The modem tax email is an Internet hoax that started as a true story. In 1987 the US Federal Communications Commission announced that it was considering eliminating a tax benefit traditionally provided to computer network companies. Under some interpretations, this could have resulted in higher costs for users. However, the FCC quickly dropped the idea after users loudly complained about what they called a "modem tax."

However, the legend lives on, and warnings about the modem tax continue to be posted to the Usenet newsgroups and distributed by email by hoaxers. The classic version mentions a talk-show host from the station KGO in San Francisco who reads a story about the tax in the New York Times newspaper. Similar hoaxes claim there will be a tax on email..

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