Google has turned evil

Christopher Jarrett

Google is no longer the antithesis of evil. Instead, Google has matured into a proper American company — one whose shareholders hold more sway than inner morality.

The company once heralded for its mantra of “Don’t be evil,” recently tossed itself headfirst into the net neutrality war. A framework proposal written jointly with Verizon (an ultimate evil when it comes to net neutrality) was released on Aug. 9 and has caused a firestorm among net neutrality activists. Why? Google has turned evil.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is on the precipice of defining Internet service providers (ISPs) as telecommunication rather than information companies. This action would give the FCC much more power to regulate the actions of these ISPs. However, the FCC has lacked a clear framework to base regulations upon. Verizon and Google want to shape such a framework.

The idea behind net neutrality is to prevent ISPs from routing specific information based on price. An example of this routing would be Comcast signing a deal with Facebook to allow to load very quickly. As a part of the deal, Comcast would also purposefully delay NBC and YouTube to a slow crawl. The consumer would be choked by the big-money websites, leaving nonprofits and blogs to die from incredibly slow load times.

No longer is Google determined to fight for consumer rights. This is a company whose Gmail allowed a gigabyte of storage before competitors offered 10 megabytes. This is a company that allows employees to devote 20 percent of their time to whatever they desire. For years, Google has fought for net neutrality regulations. Now it has chosen to support corporate greed.

The Google-Verizon framework states that a company would be “prohibited from engaging in undue discrimination against any lawful Internet content.” However, when it comes to wireless service — where standard Internet is heading in the very near future — this framework asserts that “[its] unique technical and operational characteristics” exempt wireless Internet providers from adhering to net neutrality regulations. Get ready to pay for premium content on the Internet. This unfortunate proposal allows “additional or differentiated services” to be hawked by ISPs. Rather than allowing the Internet to regulate its own content that can be sent, providers want to be able to charge consumers for the privilege of accessing currently free content.

Google’s framework would create a non-governmental body to oversee lawful adherence by the service providers — effectively giving the corporations the power to regulate themselves. The maximum penalty the FCC could charge a service provider would be $2 million — chump change for these companies.

Google has a new motto: Be relatively evil.

-Christopher Jarrett, The Tartan at Carnegie Mellon University