Google, Doing No Evil, Close To Deal With Verizon That Would Kill Net Neutrality Forever [Update]

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When do you think it would be appropriate to revoke Google’s “Do No Evil?” credentials? Mountain View is in talks with Verizon that would allow the Big V to prioritize Internet traffic as it sees fit. So, if Site A wants to pay Verizon $X so that it loads faster than Site B, Site B has two options: it could either pay Verizon $2X so that it loads faster, or it can be content with the fact that its rival just paid for better access to the same customer base. Internet, we hardly knew ye.

This, of course, is at odds with so many previous Google statements.

For example, there’s this little note entitled “Hey FCC, keep the Internet open — and awesome!”

Empty words, apparently.

CEO Eric Schmidt warned attendees at the Mobile World Conference, in Barcelona, about a scenario in which “the [Internet] operator also owned a TV network and discriminated in favor of that TV programming against the other choices. That would not be seen as fair.”

Going with Schmidt’s scenario, let’s assume the Comcast does, indeed, buy NBC. That means Comcast subscribers can look forward to blindingly fast access to Want to visit Better put on a pot of coffee—you’re going to be waiting a while.

Or, let’s say there’s a nifty new online service like Rdio. In a world without Net Neutrality, ISPs would be able to say to it, “Look, you have a nice service there. But if you want to reach our customers at anything more than [arbitrarily low speeds], you’re going to have to pay for that. Don’t like it, tough.”

Then the Internet as you know it dies.

Do No Evil, indeed.

UPDATE After this was written, the Google Public Policy posted a note on its Twitter account that disputes the very nature of the situation here:

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@NYTimes is wrong. We’ve not had any convos with VZN about paying for carriage of our traffic. We remain committed to an open internet.less than a minute ago via web

I should expect more on this in the days to come.

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