Google-Verizon deal prompts protest petitions

Fri, Aug 6, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    Google-Verizon deal prompts protest petitions

    Several progressive groups like MoveOn.org and Color of Change have launched online petition campaigns aimed at persuading Google to stick with its earlier espoused principles on “net neutrality” and not cut a a deal with telecommunications giant Verizon that would undermine an open Internet.

    You can sign MoveOn.org’s petition here or add your name to the Color of Change campaign here.

    Here’s MoveOn’s description of the campaign:

    “The reported Google-Verizon deal would allow giant corporations to control what websites are load quickly and easily on the Internet and dump everyone else onto an Internet slow lane.
    “We only have a few days to stop it, so we’re working with coalition partners including Free Press and Credo to launch a grassroots protest calling on Google to scuttle the deal.”

    Net neutrality has always meant that Internet service providers treat all data equally.  The telecommunication companies want to charge premiums to deliver some content faster than other data.

    Google has long professed to be a champion of net neutrality. Now in recent remarks CEO Eric Schmidt appears to be redefining the term to suit current business needs.  He now says it means you don’t have to treat all data equally, just all data of the same type. “What we mean is that if you have one data type, like video, you don’t discriminate against one person’s video in favor of another. It’s OK to discriminate across different types…”

    Word of the deal between Google and Verizon came as the Federal Communications Commission had been holding closed-door talks among “stakeholders” on the issue of net neutrality.  The news prompted the FCC to cancel the talks.

    That’s a good thing.  Internet policy needs to be hammered out in public meetings. The idea that two companies could decide how to carve up the Internet and let that be a model for the talks is even more repugnant.

    MoveOn.org’s petition campaign draws on the Internet giant’s oft repeated mantra with this icon:


    Some folks think Google’s behavior makes this corporate logo more appropriate:

    I just think that the net neutrality flip flop proves the point I’ve been making all along.  Google is a giant global corporation. Whatever Larry Page’s and Sergey Brin’s values may have been when they launched a feisty startup, they aren’t particularly relevant now.

    Despite sanctimonious protestations otherwise, Google’s “principles” are completely flexible depending on the perceived needs of the business.  And those needs are by no means what’s necessarily best for consumers.  It’s all about what’s best for Google’s bottom line.

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    This post was written by:

    John M. Simpson

    - who has written 414 posts on Inside Google.


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