BREAKING: Google goes "evil" - proposes killing Net Neutrality. Help fight back.

by: AdamGreen

Mon Aug 09, 2010 at 15:01


I just got off a media conference call with Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg.  

They announced a new policy recommendation that would kill the Internet as we know it, if implemented by FCC Chair Julius Genokowski and other policy makers.

The Google/Verizon deal (also posted online) basically says:

  • The old "wireline" Internet that will be irrelevant in a few years? We propose a "new, enforceable prohibition against discriminatory practices" on that.
  • New "wireless services" (aka the entire future of the Internet)? No equivalent nondiscrimination rules for that, but we'll "create enforceable transparency rules." That way, as Americans lose access to the free and open Internet, they can visibly watch it go away.
  • Just in case "wireless services" doesn't encompass the entire future of the Internet, a new class of "new services" is envisioned, which Schmidt and Seidenberg actively differentiated from "the public Internet." Basically, through private contracting, big corporations could deal directly with the Verizons and AT&Ts of the world to create the next YouTube, maybe dangle it without discrimination to the public just long enough for us to be hooked, and then discriminate like hell over it. But don't worry, the FCC will "monitor the development of these services."

Google, a company that I've long admired and currently hold thousands of dollars of stock in, just "went evil." 

That's why over 300,000 Americans have signed an open letter telling Google "don't be evil" -- protect Net Neutrality and the Internet's level playing field. You can sign here.

This letter was launched last week by 5 groups that use the Internet to organize millions of Americans around issues, and are now using the Internet to save the Internet itself -- Free Press, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, MoveOn, Credo Action, and ColorOfChange.

Why did Google cut this absurd deal, one that dramatically hurts its credibility in the online space?

We know why Verizon did it.

AdamGreen :: BREAKING: Google goes "evil" - proposes killing Net Neutrality. Help fight back.
Verizon is a decrepit old company that made massive investments in  old landline technology and is coming face-to-face with market  irrelevance. In a properly functioning marketplace, Verizon would soon  crumble and die and be replaced by modern-day innovators. The only way  for them to stay in business is to block innovation and to put  tollbooths on the Internet that are in nobody's interest but Verizon's  and other decrepit companies like AT&T.

There is no reason in  the world for Google, which has made smart investments in the future, to  find common ground with Verizon on the issue of Internet openness.  None. Zero. Zilch. Today's deal was unneeded, uncalled for, and  incompatible with Google's "don't be evil" mantra.

Google's  decision to cut a deal with Verizon wreaks of either impatience or fear.  Either Google wasn't willing to wait for the Verizons of the world to  crumble and die -- and therefore moved it's own business development  timeline up 5 or 10 years at the expense of the entire American public.  Or, Google feared doing the dirty work that comes with being a leader --  despite launching a "Google Fiber for Communities"  program that competes head-to-head with the decrepit incumbents, Google  feared actually having to fulfil their potential to defeat the bad guys.

So,  they cut a deal with the bad guys. And they're now asking the public to  accept two Internet experiences -- a great experience for the old  Internet that will soon cease to exist, and an experience filled with  discrimination and lack of a level playing field for the entire future  of the Internet.

This is a moment for good people to stand up and be counted.

Click here to join over 300,000 Americans in telling Google: Don't be evil.

Then, help save the Internet by sending this link to your friends and asking them to join you in getting involved.

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Google knows who you are AND where you live. (4.00 / 4)
This is just too perfect. With unions emasculated, education gutted, habeas corpus a macabre joke, the Ministry of Propaganda in the place where the free press used to be, ten percent of the people in prison and sixteen percent unemployed, some libertarian asshole targeted-advertising billionaire decides that he can supply the last piece of the puzzle -- as he did in China -- by offering those who already own everything a sure way to keep us from talking to one another, except by samizdat mimeographs, smoke signals, or tin cans and string.

Orwell would have appreciated his corporate motto, though. Marketing is everything.

Boycott Google for 1 Day (4.00 / 2)
What prevents us from selecting one day and asking people, on that day, to boycott Google? Don't use their search, their apps, anything Google. Hell, even deliberately use Yahoo or Ask or even evil Microsoft's Bing. A massive one day drop in activity on Google servers should send a message, don't you think?

Another idea: on 1 day have people type in the same message to Googles servers, something like "The Internet Must Be Free to All Not Just Evil Corporations" and overwhelm their search engine with the same message.

Also... (4.00 / 2)
In looking for reasons for Google's behavior, don't forget their CEO is a Republican at the least and a typical corporate CEO Neanderthal at best. He's simply screwing the little guy because that's what he thinks CEOs do. Even though the little guy is his customer and doing so will destroy his business over time.

[ Parent ]
It is just a letter to google (4.00 / 1)
it doesn't do anything.  If you don't like gentlemen's agreements why do you go for these ineffectual letters with nothing backing them up but sentiment.  No I won't sign.  I think petitions and letters are cheap activism that don't accomplish anything.  They would embarrass mlk.

My blog  

You have a point, Dame Ocrat (4.00 / 2)
It kind of sounds like "You said you 'don't be evil' and now you're being evil.  Please don't disappoint us again!"

Unfortunately, these are the wages of believing in good and bad corporations.

sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.

[ Parent ]
or, believing in capitalism as a whole (4.00 / 1)
at the minimum, it should be assumed that any publicly traded company will act only in the short term interest of stockholders (especially over the general well-being of the public)

[ Parent ]
Missing second paragraph (2.00 / 2)
I see you accidentally clicked (Post) before you wrote the second paragraph, where you suggest what should be done.  Obviously you wouldn't just protest protest, because that would be too ironically useless.

[ Parent ]
Well I switched to yahoo (4.00 / 3)
and stumble upon. .  My main google service is google reader.  The letter should have set a date for a massive switch like that.  You threaten something, otherwise it is just like a gentlemen's agreement.  Something that won't be respected.

My blog  

[ Parent ]
btw I have to go some place (4.00 / 1)
so take that comment or leave it because I am not hanging around to finish the thread.  I have other things to do.

My blog  

[ Parent ]
"thousands of dollars of stock" (4.00 / 1)
well, at least YOU'll be able to afford the shiny new internets

this Strongly Worded Letter™ will surely turn the tide

Other Solutions (0.00 / 0)
As a side note, I should point out I'm moderately sympathetic to the non-evil reasons to want YouTube to have preferred treatment.  I like putting together playlists of music videos and listening to them while working.  Sometimes they play in HD very nicely.  Other times they are all hurkey-jurkey.  Sometimes even lower definition videos don't work.  I'd love to see that fixed.

But no solution is worth giving up net neutrality.  But a reasonable solution does not require giving up net neutrality, either.  There is no reason why streaming video can't be given preferential treatment, for example.  But it would have to be everyone's streaming video, not just Netflix, YouTube and whomever is willing to pay the big bucks.

I'm not sure if current net neutrality rules allow for this sort of division, and perhaps there are more pitfalls I haven't thought of (like AT&T providing a streaming video technology it gives preferred treatment towards and charging for the right to use it), but I see no reason why this kind of solution couldn't be allowed.

But I would like to be able to play this in HD without any technical issues.

that's not how anything works (0.00 / 0)
also, takedown notices make it kinda pointless to get too attached to music video playlists

[ Parent ]
takedown notices (0.00 / 0)
They are getting smarter.  These days I see ads to buy the song I'm playing, even if it is just a fan video or fan recorded live performance, far more often than takedown notices.  Often the video comes from the group or record label, who clearly won't take down their own stuff.

[ Parent ]
How is it that other countries (4.00 / 2)
have a lot more bandwidth per person than we do? My guess is that if we could figure that one out, we'd be a lot closer to solving your HD music video problem.

[ Parent ]
Easy (0.00 / 0)
Their backbones are government funded or government subsidized and usually have enough regulation to insure innovation.  The wireless service in places like japan is just leaps and bounds better than ours.  For example, think being able to donate through your phone at political rally.    

[ Parent ]
Actually, though, is it really that bad? (4.00 / 1)
Here's a comment from DailyKos that raises some of the same questions I had about Adam's points above:

What Adam's complaint here boils down to it that the agreement doesn't cover wireless. He dismisses what CNET said:

   "The major breakthrough in the proposal is an agreement that the nondiscrimination clause that the Federal Communications Commission has proposed as part of its regulatory efforts would be enforceable."

as meaningless because nothing is said about wireless and he thinks wireline will soon be going away. First off he is wrong about wireline. Even if the 'last mile' comes to be dominated by wireless devices, the bulk of Internet traffic will go through the wireline network for most of it's journey even if it's to a wireless device. Second there can easily be many, many 'last mile' wireless providers so the question of policy regarding a relative handful of longline providers is important. So I think claiming that this agreement is meaningless because it is essentially an agreement about the past is wrong, and dismissing it as only half a loaf is short sighted.

Am I missing something, or is this poster right that the agreement only covers "wireless" as in "cellular devices"? Already in New York and other high-bandwidth areas kids are using iPod Touches plus Skype to replace cell phones, and as long as there's a hardwire going into their local internet cafe how are they likely to lose that ability? Get a municipal wireless network going, and you don't even have to use a hotspot.

... (0.00 / 0)
Adams sentiment is good.  His understanding of the technical components is very poor.   Really he needed to do a lot more research and actually understand the important technology components of this issue, not just the high level politics.  That's a major problem as this argument is being fought by many who don't fully understand the technology.

Wireless would mean any last mile signal over a wireless spectrum.   Wireless Internet over cell networks is what this mostly covers... This means smart phones, wireless modems like verizons hotspot..  This would also probably mean home Internet services like Clear which has a modem that catches a wimax signal from a tower.   This is the way I understand it.  

[ Parent ]
... (4.00 / 1)
Um, verizon is far from a decrepit company hanging on.   They are the largest wireless carrier in the US, followed by AT&T.   Net neutrality or not, they are well positioned for wireless Internet in the US and will remain a huge force.   This battle is about making more money with additional revenue streams and decreasing costs of upgrades due to capacity strain, similar in principle to QOS types in a network.  But AT&T and verizon are not in any danger whatsoever in either scenario and never were which you imply.   They survive with or without wired Internet.   The companies at risk are cable companies like com cast, but it's foolish to think wired Internet is going away any time soon.  It's not.  To suggest that shows a fundamental misunderstanding of this industry.  Until wireless can come close to wired speeds, wired will be a very profitable revenue stream.  Businesses will never sub out T1s and T3s for wireless; the security and performance differences are just too great.  Even with LTE coming online soon, wired will be around for along while.  Doesn't change that net neutrality is good and this deal sucks but you have a lot of nuts and bolts misunderstangins in your post.

To answer your other question of why google would do this?  Who owns YouTube?  Whose pushing heavy into social networking?  Google can make a mint off of premium type services that run slow on wireless but run super fast on a dedicated network.   They are just too chicken shit to admit it... Schmidt always was a douche nozzle.

Thank you! (0.00 / 0)
I didn't know most of what you just said, but it makes a lot of sense.

I still think this deal should be opposed because we can't predict the future regarding -- well, anything -- including the future of wired/wireless.  To a lay person like myself the change from using a home telephone line and an antenna television when I was a kid to using a cell phone to watch a video uploaded in Iran minutes or hours after it was shot seems like we're describing an exponentially changing system, so how can we know what "a long time means?"

Maybe you know the answer to this or what factors need to be met for wired lines to be useless compared to wireless networks?  If so please teach me, because I really am a lay person when it comes to internet service.

[ Parent ]
Google/Verizon greed. (0.00 / 0)
My pc has been de-googled.  I'll start bing'ing it now.


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