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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Google & Verizon Proposal, and Net Neutrality

Google and Verizon released a proposal relating to net neutrality. They claim their efforts are for an open internet: “[T]here should be a new, enforceable prohibition against discriminatory practices ... Importantly, this new nondiscrimination principle includes a presumption against prioritization of Internet traffic – including paid prioritization. So, in addition to not blocking or degrading of Internet content and applications, wireline broadband providers also could not favor particular Internet traffic over other traffic.”

A user named QuantumBreakfast at Reddit on the other hand remarks:

I’m wary of them differentiating between a ’public internet’ and other services in the fifth section and the Q&A portion of the announcement. It seems to me that the implementation of such services degrades the quality of the ’public internet’ by channeling funds towards them rather than the advancement of the public infrastructure, which is contrary to the rest of their announcement. I kind of shuddered when I saw “new entertainment and gaming options” tacked on to that statement.

Also, this entire announcement of supporting net neutrality only applies to “legal” and “lawful” services. So if something is deemed unlawful, none of these policies apply and the ISP has permission to nuke its bandwidth from orbit. Again, there are escape clauses all over the place.

A commenter at Google’s blog named Systemaddict argues that the part reading “wireline broadband providers would not be able to discriminate against or prioritize lawful Internet content, applications or services in a way that causes harm to users or competition” (my emphasis) means that “centralized agencies can shut down – or degrade access – to ’unlawful’ (defined by US government) content such as wikileaks, etc.”

A user named Animalk points out the following portion from the Scribd document (emphasized):

A provider that offers a broadband Internet access service complying with the above principles could offer any other additional or differentiated services. Such other services would have to be distinguishable in scope and purpose from broadband Internet access service, but could make use of or access Internet content, applications or services and could include traffic prioritization.

[Thanks DPic!]


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