Friday, August 13, 2010

Open letter to Google on net neutrality

Dear Google,
Dear Mr. Brin and Mr. Page,
Dear Mr. Schmidt,

Until this week, Google had been maybe *the* foremost advocate and supporter of Net Neutrality since its inception. I remember first reading about the term and learning what the stakes were on the official Google blog several years ago. One post after another, Google was clearly taking the very strong position of defending the consumers' interests against that of a few corporations, and I was in admiration of that. Vint Cerf was even brought to Google as a spokesperson for Google's net neutrality lobbying efforts, because of the founding figure that he was with regard to the internet. In your eyes, he therefore represented the best person to make the case that the internet deserved to be preserved exactly like it was meant to be.

Your recent "joint legislative framework proposal" with Verizon is deeply hypocritical in this regard, and it has shattered the trust that I had in your organization. Crafting special language for "additional online services" that would not fall under net neutrality provisions is a shamefully sneaky way to insert a massive loophole in the text and completely undermine the principles at the core of net neutrality.
And the idea that wireless access to the internet should be considered separately from wired access to the internet, and therefore should be excluded from any of the critical net neutrality provisions is certainly the most egregious thing I have read in a long time. This amounts to taking people for fools. Wireless access to the internet is to the next decade and beyond what wired access to the internet was to the last two. And even if it were to always remain a marginal mean of accessing the internet, it should still be covered. Access to the internet regardless of the mean and transport of data through all of the internet is what should be protected, and not one bit of all this should be exempted.

It's also lost on no one that you now have with Android a vested corporate interest in shaping how internet regulations can work in your favor in the realm of wireless broadband. And to see such a quick and bold reversal from Google on something that was hailed as a core principle and value for your company is appalling and offensive. This is nothing short of a shameful sell-out to greed and power. I sincerely hope you reconsider your stance.

Hugues de Saint Salvy

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