Making the Web Giants and ISPs Even More Powerful

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-08-12 Print this article Print


5. Traffic blocking could be commonplace  

Blocking Web traffic could potentially be commonplace, especially on mobile networks, under the new proposal set forth by Google and Verizon. Of course, supporters of it say that such a claim is nonsense, since the companies said that ISPs can't block sites. But by giving ISPs the ability to do what they want, when they want on wireless networks, they are effectively allowed to block any site they want without any fear of recourse in that realm. That will be something to watch out for if Google's proposal becomes law. 

6. Everything will change on the Web 

Whether the supporters of the net neutrality proposal agree or not, the Internet as it is known today works. Any site, no matter the size or bandwidth usage, is being treated equally. And because of that, it allows the Google, Yahoo and Facebook wannabes of the world to have a fighting chance at becoming a major business. Under the new proposal, all that could change. Startups would have the deck stacked against them. It's unfortunate. And it seems that Google forgot where it came from. 

7. What happens to the future? 

Speaking of that, there is a real possibility that innovation on the Internet could be stymied if the Google-Verizon proposal becomes the regulatory basis for net neutrality. If entrepreneurs realize that starting a Web company is harder than ever and if the chances of a big company allowing a small firm to even get close to matching it are slim, why should those folks start the new company? The promise of the Internet's freedom and level playing field has lured entrepreneurs for years. If net neutrality legislation takes aim at those entrepreneurs, they will undoubtedly go elsewhere. 

8. It keeps the FCC at bay 

The FCC may be the only organization that can help save network neutrality right now. But Google and Verizon's proposal includes several references to their desire to keep the federal organization out of the loop. In fact, if a Website or online service provider believes that they are facing the aforementioned "meaningful harm," Google would encourage them "to use nongovernmental dispute resolution processes established by independent, widely recognized Internet community governance initiatives." It gets better: "The FCC would be directed to give appropriate deference to decisions or advisory opinions of such groups." 

9. Google isn't on the 'good' side 

Google has made it known that it wants to be the "good" company in the face of evil. But by striking an agreement with Verizon on its proposal, some believe that the search giant isn't coming down on the "good" side. That's unfortunate. Google should be the company that leads the charge on the Web and fights for the cause of net neutrality. Instead, it has effectively aligned itself with ISPs. Most who care about the net neutrality debate don't believe ISPs are on the "good" side. 

10. Google has influence in Washington 

The good thing about the Google-Verizon proposal is that it isn't law, and neither company has the authority to set policy. But that doesn't mean that something extremely similar won't become a regulation. Google has significant influence both in the White House and in Congress. In fact, its CEO, Eric Schmidt, sits on the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. There are also several former Google employees working in various levels in the Obama administration. The search giant has influence in Washington. And it might rely upon that influence to push its agenda through. That wouldn't be a good thing for Web users.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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