Public Knowledge & Free Press Get Undies in Wad over Verizon…Obeying Net Neutrality Regs

by Mike Wendy on December 7, 2011

Yesterday, anti-property groups Public Knowledge and Free Press came out against Verizon for…drum roll please…obeying the FCC’s new Net Neutrality regulations.

Apparently, Verizon Wireless believes that as long as it does not block lawful websites, or competitive voice or video telephony applications, it’s free to discriminate against a Google “wallet” payment service that will compete with a similar mobile payment service being developed by the wireless carrier.  Verizon hasn’t entirely ruled out allowing the Google application being placed on its new Android phones offered through the carrier.  But, for the time being, Verizon and Google are “continuing commercial discussions,” aimed at better integrating the Google app into Verizon’s phones.

Apparently – THANKFULLY – Verizon is free to manage its private property in this manner.

Of course, this has the anti-property groups’ undies in a wad.

Moaned Harold Feld at Public Knowledge:

Today’s dispute between Google and Verizon is just the type of situation that likely would not happen if it were clear that a firm ‘no discrimination’ standard were in effect for wireless services.

Caterwauled Matt Wood at Free Press:

 These actions illustrate yet again the grave mistake made by the FCC in failing to adopt meaningful consumer protections for mobile services in its Net Neutrality proceeding last year. Free Press will continue to fight for real Net Neutrality protections on the mobile Internet.

The upshot of all of this kvetching – to borrow an old quote from Public Knowledge’s Gigi Sohn – is:

…[W]e believe that the [Net Neutrality] rules approved by the Commission are a good start to making certain consumers and innovators are protected from the power of large telephone and cable companies to remake the Internet to suit favored partners… (Emphasis added)

That’s right – A good start.  A baseline floor.  Moving goalposts.  The camel’s head underneath the tent.  A slippery slope.  Mario Puzo’s Godfather 1, then 2, then 3.  To be continued…

You get the idea.

Apparently, obeying the law isn’t good enough.  For groups like Public Knowledge and Free Press, they will only find satisfaction when Net Neutrality regulations so hamstring network providers that they’ll simply give up and let Uncle Sam run Al Gore’s amazing Internet.

(Sadly) More to come…

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jordan December 13, 2011 at 4:25 am

I’m trying to understand this post – are you saying that net neutrality, as it exists today, is adequate & the complaining related to this particular case is unfounded? Because frankly, I do see a problem with a broadband carrier obstructing commerce; perhaps net neutrality is just an inappropriate regulation to apply in this case, especially if the concept of net neutrality has not taken into account the role Verizon plays in electronic payment infrastructure (and I do not believe it has).

Reply

Mike Wendy December 13, 2011 at 2:46 pm

No. What I’m saying is that even when they play by the rules – which I don’t agree are needed in the first instance – they get hammered by the “public interest” groups who will never be satisfied.

Reply

Jordan December 13, 2011 at 9:45 pm

Ah, rules that aren’t needed. I disagree with you there.

Agree to disagree.

Reply

Mike Wendy December 14, 2011 at 2:48 am

Agreed.

Reply

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