The End of the Internet with Google-Verizon Pact

So Google and Verizon went public today with their “policy framework” — better known as the pact to end the Internet as we know it.

News of this deal broke this week, sparking a public outcry that’s seen hundreds of thousands of Internet users calling on Google to live up to its “Don’t Be Evil” pledge.

But cut through the platitudes the two companies (Googizon, anyone?) offered on today’s press call, and you’ll find this deal is even worse than advertised.

The proposal is one massive loophole that sets the stage for the corporate takeover of the Internet.

Real Net Neutrality means that Internet service providers can’t discriminate between different kinds of online content and applications. It guarantees a level playing field for all Web sites and Internet technologies. It’s what makes sure the next Google, out there in a garage somewhere, has just as good a chance as any giant corporate behemoth to find its audience and thrive online.

What Google and Verizon are proposing is fake Net Neutrality. You can read their framework for yourself here or go here to see Google twisting itself in knots about this suddenly “thorny issue.” But here are the basics of what the two companies are proposing:

1. Under their proposal, there would be no Net Neutrality on wireless networks — meaning anything goes, from blocking websites and applications to pay-for-priority treatment.

2. Their proposed standard for “non-discrimination” on wired networks is so weak that actions like Comcast’s widely denounced blocking of BitTorrent would be allowed.

3. The deal would let ISPs like Verizon — instead of Internet users like you — decide which applications deserve the best quality of service. That’s not the way the Internet has ever worked, and it threatens to close the door on tomorrow’s innovative applications. (If RealPlayer had been favored a few years ago, would we ever have gotten YouTube?)

4. The deal would allow ISPs to effectively split the Internet into “two pipes” — one of which would be reserved for “managed services,” a pay-for-play platform for content and applications. This is the proverbial toll road on the information superhighway, a fast lane reserved for the select few, while the rest of us are stuck on the cyber-equivalent of a winding dirt road.

5. 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.

If there’s a silver lining in this whole fiasco it’s that, last I checked anyway, it wasn’t up to Google and Verizon to write the rules. That’s why we have Congress and the FCC.

Certainly by now we should have learned — from AIG, Massey Energy, BP, you name it — what happens when we let big companies regulate themselves or hope they’ll do the right thing.

We need the FCC — with the backing of Congress and President Obama — to step and do the hard work of governing. That means restoring the FCC’s authority to protect Internet users and safeguarding real Net Neutrality once and for all.

Such a move might not be popular on Wall Street or even in certain corners of Silicon Valley, but it’s the kind of leadership the public needs right now.

If you haven’t yet told the FCC why we need Net Neutrality, please do it now.

Follow Craig Aaron on Twitter: twitter.com/notaaroncraig

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About anomaly

SMiles Lewis has had a lifelong interest in all things anomalous. An early age proclivity at recalling his nightly dreams as well as several personal experiences with ESP, precognition and dream switching bolstered his interest in the paranormal. Shortly after high-school he joined the local MUFON chapter in Austin, Texas. He would later become a MUFON State Section Director for that group as well as leader of the local UFO Experiencer Support and Study Group. A lover of books, SMiles collected over 1000 titles before founding the non-profit Anomaly Archives that serves as the lending library of the Scientific Anomaly Institute (501c3). For over twenty years he has worked with digital audio, video and other bleeding edge internet technologies. He has published his own print journal (E.L.F. Infested Spaces), edited a local paranormal newspaper (Austin Para Times), maintained a large network of websites (ELFIS.net), organized a national UFO conference (NUFOC-38), spoken to anthropologists about UFOs and parapsychology (Encounters with the Fantastic), hosted (and been a guest on) both terrestrial and webradio talk shows and has been podcasting since before the phrase existed. All these efforts and more have led radio talk show host Robert Larson to describe Miles as a “Gonzo Alt-Media Proprietor and Informationalist.” He is also the LOWFI-Texas State Bureau Chief of The League of Western Fortean Intermediatists. SMiles’ current projects include co-hosting PsiOp-Radio with Mack White as part of the many unique shows airing daily on his ANOMALY RADIO Network. He is active with several local non-profits which includes his service on the board of directors for the Institute for Neuroscience And Consciousness Studies (INACS) and the Scientific Anomaly Institute‘s lending library, the Anomaly Archives. His writings can be found within the Archives of his print journal ELFIS and ANOMALY Magazine. In his day job with the Texas State Library and Archives Commission‘s Talking Book Program he manages a Volunteer Recording Studio and audio duplication department and has been a consultant on two digital audio development documents for the Library of Congress‘ National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.
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