Don’t Be Evil*

atraitor *As long as it doesn’t affect the bottom line. 

While, the headline is Google’s motto, the asterisk is something that people are thinking should be tagged on, like sports writers want to do to A-Rod’s home run record.  About what, you may ask.  Well, that depends on who you talk to.  Yesterday, The New York Times published a story that had Google talking to Verizon about handling Internet traffic.  According to the story, the "compromise" would restrict Verizon from selectively slowing Internet content over its wires but could apply slowdowns to mobile phones. 

The backlash was swift.  Om Malik at GigaOm headlined his take "Did Net Neutrality Just Get Knifed in The Back?"  Jeff Jarvis at Buzz Machine though, hit the nail on the head:

"The report that Google is making a devil’s pact with Verizon for tiered internet service is disturbing because I wonder whether people inside Google are still asking that vital question: “Is this evil?” I wonder whether Google is still Google. "

Then today came the official Google Tweet. 

"@NYTimes is wrong.  We’ve not had any convos with VZN about paying for carriage of our traffic.  We remain committed to an open internet". 

Verizon’s spokesmodel stated that the Times’ story "fundamentally misunderstands our purpose".  Of course they never really go into detail then as to exactly what that purpose is, but, hey, everything is fluid right now.  Trust us, no funny business here.

That’s nice.  Of course, having the government negotiating behind closed door with the telcos and Google does not inspire confidence that any decision will be in the public’s best interest.  That is where the problem really lies.  Since this is a decision that affects everyone who uses the net, it should be imperative that the talks be opened up, just to see what is being talked about.  That way, leaks like this aren’t "misunderstandings", but a matter of public record.   A record that is, how can I put it, open and free for all to see. 

Anyway, the two companies have become kind of cozy lately, as Verizon is selling Droid-centric phones like crazy.  No matter what both sides may say publicly, there have been “convos” about a number of things.  To think that Internet traffic  is not among them is to live in Fantasyland.  So when both companies come out and say that they support an "open internet", with "minimal interference from the government", one wonders how the lawyers in Mountain View are trying to redefine the word "evil".  From my perspective, it’s looking more like it involves a bottle of Astroglide.

Now Playing: Blue Öyster Cult – Secret Treaties – Career of Evil

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