yes, Google *is* being evil

A couple days ago I pointed to how Google and Verizon were huddled in an evil lair somewhere concocting ways to fuck over Internet users as well as Web site owners who aren’t transnational multibillion-dollar corporations, and the general consensus of the responses was that I was overreacting.

Yeah? Google’s own Public Policy Blog yesterday revealed details of what it’s been up to with Verizon.

Basically, what these corporations are admitting is this: Sure, the “wireline” Internet should remain open and free, but guess what, suckers? The “wireline” Internet is on its way out like the horse and buggy, and wireless is the wave of the 21st century, and we’re gonna do with the wireless world whatever the fuck we want. So enjoy your “Net neutral” antiquated wireline Internet, cuz we’re gonna be creating an awesome new wireless network for cool stuff like movies and games… and you’ll pay through the nose to use it, and it’ll make all us rich powerful bastards even more rich and more powerful, and you’ll just have to like it.

[W]e want the broadband infrastructure to be a platform for innovation. Therefore, our proposal would allow broadband providers to offer additional, differentiated online services, in addition to the Internet access and video services (such as Verizon’s FIOS TV) offered today. This means that broadband providers can work with other players to develop new services. It is too soon to predict how these new services will develop, but examples might include health care monitoring, the smart grid, advanced educational services, or new entertainment and gaming options. Our proposal also includes safeguards to ensure that such online services must be distinguishable from traditional broadband Internet access services and are not designed to circumvent the rules. The FCC would also monitor the development of these services to make sure they don’t interfere with the continued development of Internet access services.

Key phrase: additional, differentiated online services.

Google isn’t just being evil, it’s not even hiding it.

[W]e both recognize that wireless broadband is different from the traditional wireline world, in part because the mobile marketplace is more competitive and changing rapidly. In recognition of the still-nascent nature of the wireless broadband marketplace, under this proposal we would not now apply most of the wireline principles to wireless, except for the transparency requirement. In addition, the Government Accountability Office would be required to report to Congress annually on developments in the wireless broadband marketplace, and whether or not current policies are working to protect consumers.

Key phrase: We would not now apply most of the wireline principles to wireless. Including that pesky bugaboo that everyone’s bitching about, Net neutrality. Oh, but we’ll have transparency. That’s so that, as Adam Green at AlterNet explains it:

as Americans lose access to the free and open Internet, they can visibly watch it go away.

One commenter at Google’s Public Policy Blog sums it up:

If you can’t redefine the word “neutrality”, redefine the word “Internet” instead.

Did you notice how Google and Verizon think that “wireless broadband is different from the traditional wireline world”? That’s because American companies have not dedicated the resources to upgrade the “wireline” world the way the rest of the postindustrial planet has. (As in so many other areas — health care, education, life expectancy, etc — the U.S. is hopelessly left in the dust by the likes of Germany, Sweden, and South Korea when it comes to wired broadband speeds.)

Dan Gillmor at Salon explains why we’re right to fear this Google-Verizon team-up:

You should not trust Verizon or other carriers, or Google for that matter, to follow through in ways that are truly in the interest of the kind of open networks the nation needs. Throughout the conference call, we kept hearing references to the “public Internet” — an expression that leads inescapably to something else.

Verizon and other carriers have every incentive, based on their legacies, to push network upgrade investments into the parallel Internet, not the public one.


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