Net Neutrality: Googlement is Not Your Friend
When I first read about the Google Verizon deal, in this highly hyperbolical article, I had to laugh at all the outcry about Google betraying the net neutrality cause to follow its own corporate interests. The naiveté of some people is just extraordinary, and perhaps deserves to be laughed at. Who would've thought that a big corporation would betray a "goodie" cause the first time their interests demand it? I would think everybody would think that, but we're apparently not living in a very sane world.
It reminds somewhat of the complaints against the last FCC net neutrality proposal which left a loophole that would allow the entertainment industry (or the copyright lobby) to use ISPs as internet's copyright police. In response to the loophole EFF launched an emphatically called "REAL Net Neutrality" campaign. I had to laugh back then too at the naiveté of the people who think that the government is actually there to serve their interests.
If you ask me the "net neutrality" cause is doomed from the beginning, and it is doomed for one reason only. It tries to solve its "problem" through government. The outcome is evident in the above two cases. In a world in which (and as it was inevitable to evolve) a government is essentially a conglomeration of corporate interests and nanny state politics expecting to solve such problems without these aspects getting in the way is ludicrous.
This is especially true when the target are the corporations themselves. They essentially "own" the government. This is guaranteed by the democratic process in place, but also to a large extent by the nature of government as such. Government aren't people somehow better than you and me. When push comes to shove they are going to be looking out for the number one like everyone else, self interest in the first place, and if there's good money in swinging one way or the other it would be foolish to expect them not to.
When we want to fight the corporations, government is an incredibly bad ally. It is essentially a corporation itself, only one whose misbehavior (to put it midly considering that it actually steals and kills as a matter of business as usual) is being forgiven a thousandfold more than the misbehavior of any other corporation.
Of course, there's plenty of history to confirm all of this. The "problem" that net neutrality advocates try to address was created by past government involvement to begin with. The very institution of a "corporation" is a government construct, as I keep saying, designed to limit the responsibilities of business owners. Furthermore, a good example of how government involvement created the "problem" that the naive ones are trying to solve with more of the same, are the wireless oligopolies.
To get back to Google Verizon deal, what they are actually doing is putting out a joint policy proposal. Basically, they are trying to take the net neutrality legislation issue into their own hands. They are trying to convince everyone that they are doing it in everyone's best interest while making it into a legislation that would have some nice benefits for them.
Of course, net neutrality advocates aren't too happy with this either. They weren't happy when the government agency (FCC) proposed a legislation and they're not happy when Google and Verizon did it. They wont be happy until they write it themselves, but defining "them" would be a terribly complex endeavor because not everyone's idea of an ideal net neutrality legislation is the same.
This brings up another issue with using government to solve problems. They are not problems for everyone, and not everyone is bothered by the same aspects of the problem, and not everyone has the same ideal solution in mind. Everyone could try to do their best to convince others their solution is best while voting with their wallet to make it happen, but when you involve government someone's preference will ultimately override the others and lock that "solution" in. The most likely one to be locked in will be something that resembles some kind of a corporate consensus more than it does the interests of "the people", AKA "consumers" (because that's what you are apparently).
Google Verizon proposal in a nutshell guarantees net neutrality for the "public internet", but cripples its effective enforceability, and completely waives neutrality for the wireless realm. It also allows for additional services that go beyond the "public internet" so long as some kind of a distinction can be made between the public Internet and those services. In this "beyond" realm, prioritization of traffic could still happen.
It's thanks to the wireless exception, weak enforceability and the "additional services" provision that one has to wonder if this proposal isn't anything more than paying lip service to the issue in an attempt to push through a corporate friendly "solution" that will make everyone shut up.
Again, nothing surprising about that.
I don't support net neutrality legislation, and I don't even support universal neutrality of traffic treatment. Prioritization is necessary, and believe it or not has been going on for a long time (yes, Internet actually wasn't neutral all along, what a shocker), in order to ensure quality of service. Legislation might get in the way of that, and actually worsen the Internet experience we're used to. It would also add regulatory costs to ISPs while raising the barrier for entry for new ISPs, therefore further locking in the big players (Aren't those the enemy here?) while slowing the price reduction (or even causing price increases) for Internet services.
In what little agreement I may have with the net neutrality cause, specifically about the non-prioritization of specific sources (not types) of traffic (such as traffic from Google being sent faster than traffic from say Duck Duck Go because Google paid more) I don't believe legislation is a good way to ensure it for reasons explained above, and in multiple posts before.
All I ask is think twice before you continue to push for this corporatist government to solve problems its own actions created to begin with, especially in the midst of what you might call a "corporate takeover" of the net neutrality cause. Government isn't your friend. Indeed, not even Google is your friend.