Oh Google, methinks you doth protest too much. When insiders leaked information regarding your proposed deal last week, the internet went crazy, myself included; we believed that Google and Verizon were joining forces in a deal that would destroy net-neutrality and in turn, destroy the internet as we know it. As the backlash grew, the CEO’s of Verizon and Google quickly issued statements saying they had no desire to wreck net-neutrality, the piece in the New York Times was 100% wrong. They wouldn’t dream of such a thing and how could we, such a gullible republic ever, ever accuse them of anything untoward.
Okay…so you didn’t come up with a deal between the two of you, no, what you did was come up with a proposal for the whole internet, one that kills net-neutrality…um, that’s better?
Yeah, if you haven’t heard it yet Mr. Schmidt, CEO of Google and Mr. Seidenberg of Verizon, allow me to be the first…Google and Verizon? Bite me two times, one each.
Today they released their seven point plan to allow a free and open internet and yes, it’s as bad as everyone suspected.
First, their plan makes a distinction between wired and wireless networks.
On the wired networks, which will become what is known as the public internet, everything that we know now, stays the same and the FCC gets new powers to enforce transparency and openness to all consumers.
Hey, well, that sounds pretty good.
Course, the key language here is the “as we know now” aspect of things.
The internet has long been driven by experimentation and innovation and if there’s one thing we know about computers it is how quickly things get outdated, how much we need to upgrade. Well, the proposal by Verizon and Google, while it doesn’t allow people to speed up certain content as it is now, it does have the power to make the way that content is delivered irrelevant. As new technology comes to the fore, maybe a new way to read internet news, some kind of new platform that is quicker, better and easier. Or new gaming technology, or as they mention, the smartgrid…well, that’s different, that’s progress, that can be differentiated, that can be sped up, that you’ll have to pay extra for. The deal does require transparency, but so what? As Adam Smith writes, with transparency you’ll be free to watch “your access to the free and open public internet go away.” So yes, what this proposal does is create the first tiered system on the internet. Sure you can get ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX for free, but if you want to watch any of the good stuff on television you gotta pay extra for that and besides, if you pay extra, we’ll give you True Blood faster and it’s far more entertaining than that free, slow, boring NPR now, isn’t it?
Doesn’t sound too free and open to me.
Second, and perhaps most important…how about those wireless networks? You know, the future of the internet? The method those tech guys say most people will be using to access the internet in five to ten years? Watching movies, television, downloading programs, files, watching sports? Yeah…besides transparency, there will be no rules on wireless. The deal allows Google, Verizon and every other big provider that comes along to do pretty much as they please…charge more, speed this, deny that…whatever…FCC, stay out. Business knows best. Business knows innovation, and profit.
And the FCC?
From Craig Aaron, “The pact proposes to turn the Federal Communications Commission into a toothless watchdog, left fruitlessly chasing consumer complaints but unable to make rules of its own. Instead, it would leave it up to unaccountable (and almost surely industry-controlled) third parties to decide what the rules should be.”
End result…consumers pay.
Hey, but don’t take my word for it…
From Wired magazine: “If Google’s and Verizon’s proposal goes through, we really would have two internets — one free, where Google pledges to stay, another paid, where services such as 3D television, remote medical procedures, and bandwidth-intensive games appear — for a price.”
From Salon’s Dan Gimore: “Throughout the conference call, we kept hearing references to the “public Internet” — an expression that leads inescapably to something else,” concluding, “the game is on to create a parallel Internet.”
From Law Professor Susan Crawford who argues “there are two major loopholes in their proposal. First, the failure to spell out net neutrality for wireless networks is “a huge hole, given the growing popularity of wireless services and the recent suggestion by the Commission that we may not have a competitive wireless marketplace.” Second, Crawford writes that exempting “managed services” from regulation is a “giant, enormous, science-fiction-quality loophole” and “prioritization using another label.”
From Media Access Project’s Andrew Jay Schwatrzman: “The plan raises as many questions as it answers. For example, it does not disclose the standard to be used in resolving consumer complaints. One question that the plan does definitively answer is that the non-discrimination proposal would never apply to wireless. That alone makes this arrangement a non-starter.”
From MSNBC: “We would not now apply most of the wireline principles to wireless,” says the proposal, “except for the transparency requirement.” Meaning that wireless carriers — including Verizon’s No. 1 ranked mobile subsidary — would be at liberty to provide preferential access to certain services, block others, and charge customers extra if they saw fit. “Our proposal would allow broadband providers to offer additional, differentiated online services” that they could in fact charge extra for, and offer with limited access or with the requirement of specified equipment. The examples provided are vast: “Health care monitoring, the smart grid, advanced educational services, or new entertainment and gaming options.”
So there you have it…Yet another company, Google, that purports to come up with a plan to save something, in fact kills it and while they’re reaping the financial benefits…you’ll be stuck with higher bills for less content and censorship. Your voice, my voice…all voices become expendable, especially if they don’t fall in line with status-quo corporate.
Okay FCC, you’re up…what you got you spineless bastards?
Read the article:
Google, Verizon Outline Internet Policy Proposal
Read the plan:
A Joint Policy Proposal For an Open Internet
Sign the Petition to stop this craziness:
Emergency Petition to Google: Don’t be evil – stand up for the free and open Internet