Google on Monday reversed its long-held support of Net Neutrality — the notion that all Web sites should be equally available to all persons — and joined forces with Verizon calling for new federal laws that would reshape the Internet. Howls of protest instantly erupted from consumer advocacy groups.
MoveOn.Org Civic Action, Credo Action, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, ColorofChange.org and Free Press and other members of the SavetheInternet.com Coalition, issued a joint statement mincing no words.
“The Google-Verizon pact isn’t just as bad as we feared — it’s much worse. They are attacking the Internet while claiming to preserve it.”
In a nutshell, Google and Verizon want federal laws that would:
- Enable an Internet with upper tiers.
- Ban Net Neutrality on Web-connected mobile devices.
- Restrict the Federal Communications Commission’s oversight of the Internet.
Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, says the companies are trying to create “purposeful digital loopholes so companies like Verizon and Google, and other well-endowed players, can dominate the future of the Internet.”
The laws they want Congress to enact “potentially would enable them to create the kind of special first class web distribution service that undermines the goals of network neutrality,” says Chester. “Instead of the Internet, we’d have a special interest Web.”
John Simpson, director of Consumer Watchdog, concurs. He says the Google-Verizon proposal “pays lip service” to Net Neutrality and contains two fundamental flaws.
“First, it sets up a two-tiered structure. There would be a so-called ‘Public Internet,’ but then the ISPs would be allowed to offer new premium services outside that basic service,” he says. “How long to you think anything of interest would be available on the ‘Public Internet’?
“Second, no neutrality principles would apply to the wireless world. Everyone agrees mobile is clearly the Internet’s future. Allowing data discrimination in the broadband wireless world completely undermines the future of the Internet.
“Essentially, this proposal is nothing more than two corporations meeting together and trying to carve up the Internet for their own advantage, ” says Simpson.
You can read the full text of what Google and Verizon are lobbying Congress to legislate by clicking here. The most recommended comment to the online version of my page 3B story in today’s print editions of USA Today comes from usatoday.com reader jefflz:
“The deception of (Google CEO Eric) Schmidt is unforgiveable. He talks about an open ” wire line” internet deliberately leaving the impression all is right with the internet world. Excluded from theso-called policy statement is the wireless internet which includes all mobile devices. This is the market Verizon wants to control big time.
Comcast can have cable- but Verizon/Google will be stomping all over all present and future wireless internet users (4G, 3G and all future G). Come on Eric. – do you take us all for a bunch of fools?You want to keep the pristine image of Google as defenders of Net Neutrality but you are selling the future internet down the river. Such hypocrisy is unforgivable. Google has raised its true flag and it is the flag of Big Brother and Corporate Control.. We must all join forces and fight this destruction of internet openness.
Down with Google!! We need to promote and support open source search engine development – or any service provider that truly embraces Net Neutrality and does not lie to the public like Eric Schmidt and his Google crowd. I would implore all disappointed Google employees to bail out and start planning for a time when your employment contracts will permit you to create a monster Google competitor. There is a Wiki oriented public prepared to help pay for this freedom. Lets all vow to terminate our GMAIL accounts and stop using Google software of any sort.”