Consumer Watchdog’s John Simpson points out that personalized advertisements targeted directly to a specific user, based on user-collected information, can be “a substantial amount” more lucrative than just an anonymous ad. And with all the information Google can collect about your interests from your searches, your Google Docs, and your favorite YouTube videos, they can figure out pretty specifically what ads they should show you. “They are positioning this as streamlining privacy,” Simpson says. “But that’s just PR. It’s all about better targeting for advertisers.”
“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.
When Google and Verizon (G-V) announced their “joint policy framework” on net neutrality, the search giant denied its new position had been shaped by its alliance with the telecom giant.
Four members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, on Monday called the Google-Verizon joint net neutrality plan too “industry-centered” and called on the Federal Communications Commission to regulate broadband.
The New York Times reported Monday that Google and Verizon reached their agreement on managing the Internet just as the Federal Communications Commission’s efforts to forge “a stronger agreement” were close to succeeding.
As protests against Google’s changing position on net neutrality mount online (here, here and here) and at the company’s Mountain View campus, it’s worth parsing the search giant’s official response.
A Santa Monica-based consumer watchdog group this week decried a proposal by Google and Verizon Communications that it says would put an end to net neutrality and create a system of pay-to-play haves and have-nots when it comes to internet access.
Verizon Communications Inc. and Google Inc. urged U.S. regulators to leave wireless Internet services outside most policies that are designed to prevent carriers from making some websites perform better than others. Consumer Watchdog, a consumer group based in Santa Monica, said the proposal “completely undermines the future of the Internet” because the wireless use of the Web is gaining in popularity.
John Simpson, director of Consumer Watchdog, concurs. He says the Google-Verizon proposal “pays lip service” to Net Neutrality and contains two fundamental flaws.
“Ultimately, consumers would pay the costs for the premium delivery, or worse, would never see the content of smaller companies,” says John Simpson, director of advocacy group Consumer Watchdog. “Google claims it won’t use premium channels for delivery, but not long ago they professed to defend true net neutrality.”
Santa Monica-based Consumer Watchdog, however, said that while the new broadband proposal “pays lip service to the idea of net neutrality,” it would actually “completely undermine the open and free Internet we enjoy.” John M. Simpson, consumer advocate with the nonpartisan, nonprofit public interest group, said there are two main problems with the proposal.
Several progress 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.
Digital rights advocacy groups took a cautious view of the deal. John Simpson of Consumer Watchdog said: “Apparently Google redefines principles to suit the business need of the moment… What Google and Verizon are trying to do is carve up the Internet behind closed doors for their own benefit.” The deal comes after the Federal Communications Commission disbanded talks on net neutrality, saying that it had failed to create an agreement on a ‘robust framework to preserve the openness and freedom of the internet’.