If you value the free, fair, and open Internet, then you need to act now, before two corporate giants deal it away.
Several news outlets reported yesterday that Google and Verizon are about to cut a deal that would allow giant corporations to control which websites load slowly, quickly, or not at all.1,2,3 Google used to oppose this kind of corporate control over the Internet, but now it looks like they might be changing their tune. Google's motto is "Don't be evil," but it looks like their pursuit of profit might be getting in the way of living up to that ideal.4
Thankfully, it's not a done deal yet -- and with enough pressure, we can stop them from acting. That's why we're joining our friends at CREDO, MoveOn, and Free Press to demand that Google back off this corporate takeover of the Internet. Will you add your voice, and then ask your friends and family to do the same?
The basic promise of the Internet lies in the guarantee that information you put online is treated the same as anyone else's information in terms of its basic ability to travel across the Internet. Your own personal website or blog can compete on equal footing with the biggest companies. It's the reason the Internet is so diverse — and so powerful. Anyone with a good idea can find their audience online, whether or not there's money to promote the idea or money to be made from it.
This is critical for Black communities and others that have had our voices compromised by corporate-controlled media. For the first time in history we can communicate with a broad audience, educate, politically organize, and create new businesses — without prohibitive costs or mediation by gatekeepers in government or industry. It's the strength of your ideas, not the size of your budget, that largely determines your success. In television, radio, and print this can't happen because access is determined by big media corporations seeking to turn a profit.
This deal could take the Internet in a different direction. It could end the Internet's level playing field by allowing rich corporations like Google to pay for faster-loading websites and services. It could destroy the potential for independent voices to compete with giant corporations for an audience — big corporations who can pay for preferential access to Internet users would drown out the smaller voices online. And it could mean that you'll start getting less Internet service at a higher cost.
We expect the big telecommunications companies to try to stifle freedom and equality on the Internet — they've hired an army of lobbyists to do just that. But Google has always said it supports a free and open Internet. Google likes to portray itself as a corporation with principles that go beyond profit, and it would be disappointing to see Google abandon them.
Google has tried to downplay this story. They issued a short, carefully worded statement that says they're still committed to an open Internet, but they haven't denied that they are in talks with Verizon to cut a deal that would give corporations more control over Internet traffic.5
By speaking out, you can pressure Google to walk away from this deal. But time is running out — please sign our petition to Google today.http://www.colorofchange.org/google/?id=1973-49139
Thanks and Peace,
-- James, Dani, William, Gabriel, Milton, and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
August 6th, 2010
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1. "Google and Verizon Near Deal on Web Pay Tiers," The New York Times, 8-5-2010
2. "Google, Verizon Try to Shape Net-Neutrality Law," Wall Street Journal, 8-52010
3. "Google, Verizon Said to Strike Deal on Web Traffic Rules," Bloomberg, 8-5-2009
4."NYT: Google Just Killed Net Neutrality (UPDATING: Google and Verizon Deny Internet Traffic Deal)," Gizmodo, 8-5-2010
5. See reference 4