Web founder chides Google on net neutrality

Wed, Dec 8, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    Web founder chides Google on net neutrality

    “The World Wide Web is in danger,” says Tim Berners-Lee, the computer scientist who invented the ubiquitous http://www protocol—and part of the threat comes from Mountain View.

    “Some of [the Web’s] most successful inhabitants have begun to chip away at its principles,” he writes in a piece entitled “Long Live the Web” appearing in the most recent issue of Scientific American.

    “Unfortunately, in August, Google and Verizon for some reason suggested that net neutrality should not apply to mobile phone–based connections,” he writes.

    What’s wrong with that? Two things, says Berners-Lee:

    “Many people in rural areas from Utah to Uganda have access to the Internet only via mobile phones. Exempting wireless from net neutrality would leave these users open to discrimination of service.”

    “It is also bizarre to imagine,” he goes on, “that my fundamental right to access the information source of my choice should apply when I am on my Wi-Fi-connected computer at home but not when I use my cell phone.”

    Berners-Lee (and presumably the Sci-Am editors) calls for “continued open standards and neutrality.”

    “Although the Internet and Web generally thrive on lack of regulation,” he concludes, “some basic values have to be legally preserved.”

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