Dear MoveOn member,
Big news: according to reports, Google is about to cut a terrible deal with Verizon that would end the fair, open Internet as we know it.1
The reported Google-Verizon deal would allow giant corporations to control which websites load quickly and easily on the Internet and dump everyone else onto an Internet slow lane. This is exactly the kind of unequal playing field that Google itself has opposed in the past.2
We only have a few days to stop it, so we’re launching a grassroots protest calling on Google to scuttle the deal. Will you sign our emergency petition to Google? Click here to sign:
The petition says: “Google: Say no to the reported agreement with Verizon to kill Net Neutrality and the open Internet.”
The Internet was founded on the principle that all data is equal—and that no corporation should be able to decide whose data goes faster or slower. It’s this principle, called Net Neutrality, that has made the Internet such an amazing platform for individual speech, democratic action, and entrepreneurial creativity.3
And until now, Google—which uses the corporate motto “Don’t Be Evil”—has been a staunch defender of Net Neutrality.4 But now, Google is threatening to turn the Internet into a closed, pay-to-play, cash cow for large corporations. This move is evil, and Google knows it.
Here’s why this is a big deal. President Obama’s new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chair initially came out strong for Net Neutrality, in line with the President’s campaign promises.5 But the big telecom companies launched a lobbying frenzy, and soon the FCC was meeting with them behind closed doors.
Because Google and Verizon are two powerhouse corporations that have historically been on opposite sides of this issue, an agreement between them will put enormous pressure on the FCC to go along with their recommendations. Essentially, two giant corporations may be deciding the future of the Internet—if the Obama administration goes along, and if the public doesn’t push back right away. Click here to help stop them now:
Google was once a champion on this issue—Google chief executive Eric Schmidt once attacked “phone and cable monopolies” who “want the power to choose who gets access to high-speed lanes and whose content gets seen first and fastest.”6
But today’s news stories report that under the new deal, Verizon could be allowed to give some sites preferential treatment. Even more ominously, it appears that Verizon would have free rein to discriminate on the mobile Internet (smartphones, cell phones, etc). Since that’s where most people will access the Net going forward, this would essentially spell the end of Net Neutrality.
Google has issued a short, carefully worded statement challenging some of the details in The New York Times story, but it hasn’t denied that it is going along with this agreement to kill Net Neutrality.7 So much for “Don’t be evil.” Will you sign our petition today and tell Google not to be evil on Net Neutrality?
My MoveOn There’s Nothing to See Here But Propaganda response:
OK, so according to this email, Google is going to become the evil corporation that sides with another big evil corporation (Verizon) to make us all second class citizens on the Internet.
That specific content is a lie, outright, but I haven’t even gotten to the undertones. First, let’s look at this supposed Google-Verizon deal. At the end, MoveOn claims that Google hasn’t “categorically denied” that a deal is happening. Yet the very article they cite as “proof” of this says exactly the opposite. Here’s a quote from Google as well as Verizon, via PC Magazine, in the article MoveOn cited:
“The New York Times is quite simply wrong,” a Google spokeswoman said in an e-mail. “We have not had any conversations with Verizon about paying for carriage of Google traffic. We remain as committed as we always have been to an open Internet.”
Verizon also denied it.
“The New York Times article regarding conversations between Google and Verizon is mistaken. It fundamentally misunderstands our purpose,” Verizon said in a statement. “As we said in our earlier FCC filing, our goal is an Internet policy framework that ensures openness and accountability, and incorporates specific FCC authority, while maintaining investment and innovation. To suggest this is a business arrangement between our companies is entirely incorrect.”
I don’t know about you, but saying “We have not had any conversations with Verizon about paying for carriage of Google traffic” looks pretty damn categorical to me.
Now let’s look at the undertone inherent in this MoveOn piece (of crap) and what likely would pass for “categorical denials” for them..
Note the long references towards the middle of the MoveOn hit piece talking about the valiant efforts of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to establish so-called Net Neutrality. That, my friends, is the true intention of this MoveOn propaganda. To scare people into thinking that only the FCC can save us from evil corporations who want to ruin the Internet.
Two things MoveOn leaves out: 1) name any government agency and you’ve named a failure to accomplish its stated core mission; and 2) the Internet is run by big corporations already.
First, the FCC is not the lone good guy in government. They have as many sellouts as all the rest of the bureaucratic agencies within our government do. They just don’t seem to make the headlines quite as often as the FDA does. Government sucks and is good at only one thing: forcing you to pay for things.
Second, the Internet is run, in the main, by big corporations right now. Don’t believe me? Where does your Internet access come from? If you’re American, it’s most likely through a cable provider. That provider is probably owned by one of the big corporations like Comcast. They, in turn, connect to other service providers that offer various trunks and mainlines throughout the ‘Net. You know, like Google who has some of the largest server farms in the world.
Verizon, AT&T, Turner, and a pan load of others all own big chunks of the infrastructure that makes up your Internet. The good news is that a lot of them are in the game, so market competition appears to be playing a role. More good news is that many overseas and other providers are also in the game and there are a near-infinite number of ways for data to get from one point to the next. So any one or two or so providers who decided to band together to “censor” or whatever would find themselves bypassed as the ever-living Web found ways around them.
Look at China’s firewall. Who does it keep in line? Only the non-savvy and those uninterested in whatever content China is blocking. Everyone else has no problems sneaking around those barriers.
So MoveOn is lying from the first sentence to the last in this little screed they’ve sent out. Can’t say it’s unusual for them either.