The bill, a blessing for retailers and a slap at the states, should be a cinch to pass with Clinton's endorsement, says TIME technology correspondent Declan McCullagh. Best of all for netizens, "it sets a precedent for regulation of the Internet," he says. "It's an indication that Washington is still willing to take a hands-off approach , rather than stifle the Internet through bureaucratic meddling."
But no one knows like the Internet crowd that the Big G is not to be trusted. "Governments will always find a way to tax the Net," says McCullagh, who points out a recent Clinton-Gore project: the $2.25 billion library-and-school universal service fund, which was paid for with surcharges on extra home-phone lines -- traditionally used for Internet hookup. "Despite what Clinton wants you to hear," he says, "that's hardly deregulatory."