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FreePress on the Google-Verizon Deal: The End of The Internet as We Know It

August 5, 2010 - by David Moore

Sign our petition to save the Internet! SaveTheInternet.comPlease take a moment to read this urgent essay by Josh Silver, President of Free Press, called The End of the Internet as We Know It. Excerpt ::

How did this happen? We have a Federal Communications Commission that has been denied authority by the courts to police the activities of Internet service providers like Verizon and Comcast. All because of a bad decision by the Bush-era FCC. We have a pro-industry FCC Chairman who is terrified of making a decision, conducting back room dealmaking, and willing to sit on his hands rather than reassert his agency’s authority. We have a president who promised to “take a back seat to no one on Net Neutrality” yet remains silent. We have a congress that is nearly completely captured by industry. Yes, more than half of the US congress will do pretty much whatever the phone and cable companies ask them to. Add the clout of Google, and you have near-complete control of Capitol Hill. (emphasis added)

Roundup of lots more info over at the ever-increasingly-valuable Memeorandum news & blog aggregator. Wow they do good work. But this is a harmful public policy outcome for our nation… a terribly-accurate example of what we mean when we write that Congress Is Broken.

If you woke up today and looked forward to getting online, if you enjoy using the web to keep in touch with friends and use it to conduct business, you should support net neutrality. (Why? FAQ!) To fight for internet freedom and keep the Internet the amazing powerful open-access technology it has usually been, head over to Save The Internet, sign the petition, spread the word, and get involved. As part of your activism, you can research campaign contributions to any senator or representative here on OpenCongress (with data courtesy of OpenSecrets) on their profile page’s tab for “The Money Trail”. Let us know what you find :: writeus [at] opencongress d0t org.

Shout-out to everyone at FreePress and Prof. Susan Crawford for their work defending internet freedom in the face of overwhelming corporate lobbying and telco campaign contributions. For more info on what we’re up against, please see Corruption Road: How Corporate Money and Astroturf Pollute Media Policy: Corporations pour campaign cash into Congress, where prominent members sign industry letters and parrot industry talking points. Links to more valuable industry studies and public-interest journalism to be found on their site… please don’t forget to spread the word and motivate your social networks to support #netneutrality today in the face of this terrible move by the Google-Verizon behemoth.

What’s more, this is why we (PPF) continually urge you to support public-interest work by non-profit organizations with a strong public mission. A usually-perceived-as-progressive-but-ultimately-and-essentially-profit-seeking massive-clout-wielding entity like Google can spout a slogan such as “Don’t Be Evil” — and then turn around and cut a deal with net-neutrality opponent Verizon because it’s overwhelmingly in their proprietary, closed, commercial interest (NYT). The best available bulwark against the false idols of “enlightened” companies is an independent (i.e., non-captured) regulatory government and a truly level technical playing field (i.e., net neutrality) for private enterprise and the social good of real-world communities. Lots more over at TechMeme. To the team at Google, we look forward to any attempt you care to mount defending this deal, sharing a stage with the Free Press policy folks and Prof. Crawford and others in the net freedom community. Josh Silver put it well in his HuffPo piece:

Author’s note: Notice how a company can change their tune in the name of profitmaking. From Google in 2006: “Today the Internet is an information highway where anybody – no matter how large or small, how traditional or unconventional – has equal access. But the phone and cable monopolies, who control almost all Internet access, want the power to choose who gets access to high-speed lanes and whose content gets seen first and fastest. They want to build a two-tiered system and block the on-ramps for those who can’t pay.” 

… how terribly discouraging. Time to organize against Google-Verizon and in favor of net neutrality.

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Comments

  • eydaimon 08/05/2010 8:31am

    Explain to me again why I want MORE government regulation? Seriously, this article is, and I will be blunt, stupid. You make a call out and say that “Congress Is Broken” then you WANT them to regulate the internet? Doesn’t that seem a little bit illogical? What exactly is the government doing correctly these days? You say it’s broken, yet you say you would trust them to regulate the internet fairly? I mean… REALLY???? Net Neutrality = Government running the internet – BAD IDEA.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9jHOn0EW8U

  • eydaimon 08/05/2010 8:31am

    Explain to me again why I want MORE government regulation? Seriously, this article is, and I will be blunt, stupid. You make a call out and say that “Congress Is Broken” then you WANT them to regulate the internet? Doesn’t that seem a little bit illogical? What exactly is the government doing correctly these days? You say it’s broken, yet you say you would trust them to regulate the internet fairly? I mean… REALLY???? Net Neutrality = Government running the internet – BAD IDEA.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9jHOn0EW8U

  • eydaimon 08/05/2010 8:40am

    dammit, wrong youtube link. Here’s the correct one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Sl7qV7RlJo

    and laggy opencongress servers caused the double-post.

  • davidmoore 08/05/2010 9:40am

    Thanks for your bluntnss, eydaimon! This FAQ at SaveTheInternet can help clarify issues:

    http://www.savetheinternet.com/frequently-asked-questions

    Net Neutrality has been part of the Internet since its inception. Pioneers like Vint Cerf and Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, always intended the Internet to be a neutral network. And non-discrimination provisions like Net Neutrality have governed the nation’s communications networks since the 1920s.

    But as a consequence of a 2005 decision by the Federal Communications Commission, Net Neutrality — the foundation of the free and open Internet — was put in jeopardy. Now, cable and phone company lobbyists are pushing to block legislation that would reinstate Net Neutrality.

    Writing Net Neutrality into law would preserve the freedoms we currently enjoy on the Internet. For all their talk about “deregulation,” the cable and phone giants don’t want real competition. They want special rules written in their favor.

  • eydaimon 08/05/2010 12:29pm

    Moore, your FAQ doesn’t address any of the points that I made. Let me re-iterate.

    1. You say Congress is broken, yet you want to entrust the Internet to them to regulate.
    2. Congress IS as you say broken. These are the same people who now have a license to kill US citizens, have suspended habeaus corpus, PATRIOT Act, are fighting war after war, bailing out big business, etc. Do I need to go on? It’s yet another thing for them to TAX and CONTROL.

    Please address these concerns and tell me why I should trust government to not screw it up totally.

  • SQLserver 08/05/2010 12:42pm

    Dude, I have been reading your blog for quite some time now in order to get excellent information on what is happening in Congress.
    This post disappoints me. Not only does it display partisan bias, but it is riddled with inaccuracies. Net Neutrality is CLEARLY a huge issue, but it doesn’t have much to do with congressional updates.
    Second, your article is firmly based on a completely false NY times article.
    See:
    http://twitter.com/googlepubpolicy/status/20393606477
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/aug/05/gogle-denies-verizon-deal-net-neutrality

    Essentially, their deal results in COMPLETE NETWORK NEUTRALITY for the wired internet, and leaves the issue open for Verizon wireless connectors.
    This is good news. One of the biggest rivals to network neutrality is Verizon, and here they are stepping back and agreeing to keep the internet free.

    @eydaimon: Net Neutrality is about restricting EVERYONE’S control over the internet. Basically, “Nobody can mess with the internet”.

  • Comm_reply
    eydaimon 08/07/2010 7:46pm

    It’s a bill congress will pass to regulate interent. EVERYONE will NOT include government.

  • Comm_reply
    eydaimon 08/08/2010 4:53pm

    Case in point here: http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2010/07/the-american-government-once-intentionally-poisoned-certain-alcohol-supplies-resulting-in-the-death-of-over-10000-american-citizens/

    Think it was the intention of those people who voted for government to control liquor that the government would intentionally poison and kill that many american citizens?

  • davidmoore 08/06/2010 7:50am

    eydaimon – seems that this may be a longer conversation. We believe in the possibility to reform our representative democracy and introduce more elements of deliberative democracy to make our American government more open and accountable.

    SQLserver – you’re correct, there have been conflicting reports since the NYT article. See, for example, updates here ::

    http://www.engadget.com/2010/08/05/google-and-verizon-sign-net-neutrality-agreement-begin-the-end/

    … but as developments continue, we stand with FreePress and the SaveTheInternet coalition in urging vigilance and transparency on this crucial issue. If OpenCongress is to continue its mission to make gov’t data in full compliance with ::

    http://www.opengovdata.org/

    … then net neutrality is a necessary condition, viz. Principle 3, “Data must be timely” :

    http://www.opengovdata.org/home/8principles

    … and in general, net neutrality is a basic principle of a just and equal society, worth supporting on its own merits.

  • davidmoore 08/09/2010 11:51am

    Updated information & journalism links here ::

    http://twitter.com/OpenCongress/status/20735580241

    http://twitter.com/OpenCongress/status/20735481323

    http://twitter.com/OpenCongress/status/20735856029

    … reliable updates can be found here going forward ::

    http://twitter.com/freepress

    http://www.savetheinternet.com/blog

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