Possible Changes Coming

I am considering moving my blog to another server, probably WordPress, due to Google’s selling out of their position on net neutrality. I will also be ending my Gmail account, and will begin using other search engines other than Google.

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

I quit with Verizon several years ago when it became known that they had aided and facilitated the Bush Administration’s warrantless wiretap program, even innovating some of the technology necessary to read millions of emails and listen in on millions of phone calls of American citizens and turn that information over to the Big Brother government types.

News of this deal broke last 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 offered in yesterday’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.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 it isn’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 up 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.

In the meantime I’m going to be trying to figure out how to transfer my blog to another server and will stop using Google, just as I have refused to use Verizon in the past. If they don’t believe in fairness and honesty, why should we support them? If they don’t believe in our right, as the consumers who fuel the entire internet experience, to have fair and free access to every part of the internet, why should we support them? I will not be a dupe and a stooge for Google, Verizon, or any other corporate master out there who wants to subjugate the public to bending to their will while they profit even more than they have from the free system of the internet that they joined in on and by which they made their ungodly fortunes.