A paper trail of betrayal: Google's net neutrality collapse

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A paper trail of betrayal: Google's net neutrality collapse
« on: August 12, 2010, 12:14:27 AM »

Like the rest of the technology world, we're wondering why Google has chosen to ally itself with Verizon, issuing a set of joint net neutrality recommendations that critics charge would significantly weaken the Federal Communications Commission's ability to protect the open Internet.

The whole approach just seemed so at odds with Google's past fiery statements on the issue. Maybe we misread the search engine giant's previous statements, we worried. Until this month, wasn't Google one of net neutrality's biggest advocates?

So this morning we re-read three Google documents again—filings with the FCC going back to 2007, shortly after Google's Eric Schmidt first asked the public to "take action to protect Internet freedom."

Comparing "Google Then" with "Google Now," the differences seem pretty stark. Google Then raised strong objections to three major points in the Google/Verizon statement that Google Now endorses.

1. Rules versus principles

The core of the Google/Verizon proposal is that ISPs would adhere to a set of "principles"—a non-discrimination principle prominent among them:

In providing broadband Internet access service, a provider would be prohibited from engaging in undue discrimination against any lawful Internet content, application, or service in a manner that causes meaningful harm to competition or to users. Prioritization of Internet traffic would be presumed inconsistent with the non-discrimination standard, but the presumption could be rebutted.