Monday, June 16, 2008

"Don't Be Evil": Google Fights For Internet Neutrality

Google's fired the latest salvo for the ongoing fight for network neutrality and against the tiered-service model - the idea that Internet Service Providers have the right to "prioritize" certain web sites and domains, giving the short stick to small, underground sites and upstarts that can't pony up the cash to pay the ISP's for top billing.

From TheRegister:

In an effort to identify traffic discrimination by American ISPs, Google is prepping a suite of network analysis tools for everyday broadband users.

"We're trying to develop tools, software tools...that allow people to detect what's happening with their broadband connections, so they can let [ISPs] know that they're not happy with what they're getting - that they think certain services are being tampered with," Google senior policy director Richard Whitt said this morning during a panel discussion at Santa Clara University, an hour south of San Francisco.

If the country doesn't have neutral networks, Whitt contends, innovation stagnates among application developers. And he believes that individual consumers - as well as Washington policy makers - should join the fight for such neutrality.

"The forces aligned against us are real. They've been there for decades. Their pockets are deep. Their connections are strong with those in Washington," he said. "Maybe we can turn this into an arms race on the application software side rather a political game."

The internet is one of the last bastions of free and independent thought left in the world, and it's fantastic to see a giant like Google fighting the good fight, avoiding profit-based temptations as corporate fat cats strive to create a worldwide McInternet.

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