Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Internet usage rights

Its been said before, but we do need an Internet Bill of Rights for all users - after all, its a worldwide issue, so they should be worldwide.  Here's my list.  Can you add to it?

1. Email - All email programs like Gmail, MS Office etc should have the following:
  a. a setting you can designate as Spam for emails from certain sources so you never get them again.
  b.  Messages shouldn't delete unless you delete them or set a time limit in settings.
  c.  The email system should always tell you how much storage you have, like Gmail does.

2.  Subscriptions
  a.  ALL "subscriptions" or "ads" or listservs should have a permanent "Unsubscribe,"  unless you sign up again.
  b.  You should give your permission to receive ads or third party materials from the site you're subscribed too.
  c.  You should be able to designate the frequency of info sent by a subscription site.
  d.  All subscription sites should have an "Unsubscribe" link in every email, and a place for comments.
  e.  subscription sites should always have a comments or suggestions box for likes, dislikes and ideas to improve.
  f.  All subscriptions should send you a receipt with terms or an agreement that's dated and that you can print or save, and how to unsubscribe, by email.
  g.  All costs must be specified and agreed to before starting the subscription.

3.  Purchases - i.e. applies to ALL Internet purchases
  a.  A 2-3% flat tax on all purchases for all companies that goes to the country of origin (no more state or other taxes).  Each country can split it up by state if like the US, plus take a small federal cut for administration costs.
  b.  All sellers must have a printable Sales Agreement, 1. To review before purchasing, 2.  To print or save after purchase.  3. It must be dated and terms can't be changed without notice and agreement by the buyer.
  c.  Must have a clear return policy for any reason, with a small restocking fee of no more than 10%.
  d.  All "Free Trials" must be free - no credit card needed.  When they expire the site can request specified payment to continue, or else it just expires.
  e. All "Free" offers must truly be free - not a come on where you find out that if you buy three for example, you'll get one free.

Those are the basics for now, I'm sure we all have others we can think of and add.  But the key is to think of universal standards, not state by state or country by country. That way, for once and for all, all businesses will be on equal footing and no one will have an advantage or disadvantage.