Put a flower on the grave of this wacky experiment we call the internet, because it died today according to this guy on the Huffington Post.  That’s right folks, beloved Google joined forces with iron-fisted Verizon to suggest regulations for the internet.   Or I guess to agree with our evil corporate overlords that the internet should be controlled in certain instances.  And lord are some people making it sound terrifying.  Here’s Craig Aaron with HuPo:

“The deal would allow ISPs to effectively split the Internet into “two pipes” — one of which would be reserved for “managed services,” a pay-for-play platform for content and applications. This is the proverbial toll road on the information superhighway, a fast lane reserved for the select few, while the rest of us are stuck on the cyber-equivalent of a winding dirt road.

“The pact proposes to turn the Federal Communications Commission into a toothless watchdog, left fruitlessly chasing consumer complaints but unable to make rules of its own. Instead, it would leave it up to unaccountable (and almost surely industry-controlled) third parties to decide what the rules should be.”

Et tu, Google?

I still remember the glorious day in 1999 when Google entered my life–I was 17, scared, unable to research properly and my debate teacher brought in a research consultant to give the class some pointers. “I like a new search engine called Google,” she said.  And then–in the crazy heyday of useless search engines, Google consistently produced results that were in the ballpark of what I was looking for.  There had only been an internet in my life for three years.  I completed my final debate project using the internet to find relevant sources that I could cite.  That had never happened before Google.

Now I’ve let Google in–they hold over 8,000 of my emails in their cloud.  Their operating system runs my phone, my only phone, no land-line for me. I use their maps to find my way around town and their mapping trucks have taken photos of my mother’s house, garden and driveway and posted them for the whole world.

The primary colors made me think it was all bedrooms with dinosaur sheets and snoopy pillows on the bed for Google.  And they gave me a justifiable reason to play a round of Pac-Man at work.

Well it isn’t all tears and hairpulling and deleting of emails at duchess’s tonight–the New York Times reporting on today’s policy announcement makes it sound much more reasonable:

“According to the proposal, Internet service providers would not be able to block producers of online content or offer them a paid “fast lane.” It says the Federal Communications Commission should have the authority to stop or fine any rule-breakers.”

That’s what internet free-lovers want, right? Perhaps Google has joined the adult table on this because they must be a part of it somehow–frankly they are the internet to a lot of us. Perhaps they view this agreement as a chance for them to influence the discussion towards a less-regulated internet?  But couldn’t a corporation as large and influential as Google drive the policy more if they truly wanted a non-discriminating internet with no exceptions?

Oh Google–we’ll always have Gmail Paper.

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