As hard as the FCC has attempted to tax Internet activity, the delegates to the World Health Organization’s annual World Health Assembly sharply repudiated the potential for a “bit” tax on Internet activity and a tax levied on financial activities conducted over the internet.

The WHO “Expert Working Group on Research and Development: Coordination and Financing” had been tasked with finding a solution to allow those in developing countries more access to pharmaceutical products, spurring research on communicable disease, and finding a way to pay for these reforms. Aside from a highly redistributive approach to Research and Development from countries with strong medical research firms, the committee proposed “new and innovative sources of funding.”

Chief among these proposed ideas was a proposal that “could yield tens of billions of U.S. dollars from a broad base of users” through a “digital tax or 'hit' tax,” which could be applied either to Internet access or usage. Moreover, the committee report also suggested a financial transactions tax. In the report, the committee recalls a Brazilian 0.38% tax on bills paid online and on unspecified “major withdrawals” which raised an estimated $20 billion per year.

As opposed to imposing new taxes, the Assembly agreed to form a new “consultative expert working group” to reexamine the factors involved yet again and report to the Assembly in two years, effectively pigeonholing the proposal and thereby protecting both research and development and taxpayers.