Hey, Free Press and Company: We Don’t Like the Verizon-Google Deal Either by Seton Motley 11 Aug 2010 post a comment Share This: On Monday, World Wide Web Big Players Verizon and Google made officially public their seven self-agreed-to principles on how they think it’s best to run the Internet railroad. This was–-and is--a bit of news, given that the two have been on opposite sides of the Network Neutrality debate since its inception–-Google for, Verizon against. This deal was too much for the whacked-out, way-out fringe pro-Net Neutrality Leftists like Free Press and Public Knowledge, and they immediately collapsed into conniption fits. The heads at Free Press have yet to stop spinning. In dread anticipation of Monday afternoon’s announcement, they (along with MoveOn.org Civic Action, CREDO Action, the Progressive Campaign Change Committee and ColorofChange.org) delivered to Google’s Washington, D.C. offices 300,000 signed petitions against the proposed deal. No one’s sure just how many of the 300,000 actually knew what they were signing, given Free Press’s horrendously dishonest track record on these sorts of things. After the announcement, they immediately issued Free Press Urges Policymakers to Reject Google-Verizon Pact. But they still weren’t done--later in the day giving us Google-Verizon Pact Worse than Feared. You can hear them hyperventilating all the way from where you are, can’t you? Public Knowledge, meanwhile, launched their Google Sold Out the Open Internet -- Help Us Protect It campaign. All of this sound and fury signified the same thing–-Free Press & Company don’t like the Google-Verizon deal. Well guess what–-neither do a lot of conservatives. For fundamentally different reasons, of course. These Leftists want an all-out regulatory assault on the Internet industry–-implementation of full-on Net Neutrality, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reclassification of the Web under the old school, 1930s land line telephone line regulatory regime, and any other government authority-increasing, job-killing measure they can come up with. We conservatives, on the other hand, think the Google-Verizon deal cedes too much authority to D.C.’s proposed Electron Overlords. I understand Verizon’s (wishful) thinking on this. They simply want regulatory stability–-a defined set of rules that are in place, not in flux-–so that they can stop worrying about when and where the government hammer is going to fall and proceed with doing business. Businesses–-and their investment capital--loathe uncertainty. Wonder why the economy’s been inert--bordering on comatose--these past eighteen months? Because the federal government has been SO INCREDIBLY ACTIVE–-creating new laws, regulations and taxes with which the private sector has to deal. And that makes a tremendously uncertain mess out of our economy. It’s like the Red Light-Green Light game you played as a kid-–if the government’s moving, the private sector comes to a screeching halt, waiting for the feds to stop messing with the economy so that they may resume building it. They don’t want to invest money in an uncertain situation, and right now-–with the gaggle we have in Washington bulling their way through our economic china shop–-we are a quintessentially uncertain situation. Verizon was seeking a way out from under the regulatory Sword of Damocles. So it seems they decided “Let’s cut a deal, settle the situation, and get out and back to doing business.” But in their desire to get past this, Verizon cedes too much authority to the FCC - and is so doing tacitly agrees that the FCC should have a substantive role in Internet regulation. We conservatives find this to be a preposterous proposition. The FCC has no business anywhere near the Web business. And almost everyone--even some pro-Net Neutrality forces--are aligned against their forcefully inserting themselves into the process without benefit of Congress. And here’s the rub, the Verizon-Google deal isn’t even really a deal. For the FCC to be foolishly placed in charge of the Internet, Congress must first pass a law making it so. The Verizon-Google pact has no force and weight all by its lonesome – it must be a part of new Congressional action giving the FCC said authority. Here’s hoping that this never comes to pass.