August 10, 2010

Some Perspective on Reactions to the Google/Verizon Joint Policy Proposal

Greetings. Unless you're living under a rock (and perhaps even then) you no doubt are aware of the many rather strident reactions to the Google/Verizon joint policy proposal that the firms announced yesterday during a conference call (and that I blogged about shortly thereafter).

Over on the Network Neutrality Squad (and to a much lesser extent on my PFIR and PRIVACY Forum mailing lists), I've been sending through links to articles I've found around the Net responding to the proposal.

In those postings, I am endeavoring to provide a broad cross section of reacting opinions. If it appears that most coverage is critical of the proposal in at least one aspect or another, this is not the result of selective editing on my part, but is -- at least as far as I can tell -- representative of the universe of articles that I'm finding. I have in fact been actively searching for independent materials that enthusiastically support the proposal in its totality, so far to no avail. If you know of any such articles or essays, please send me the associated links so that I can promulgate them appropriately.

I still plan to publish my own more detailed analysis of the proposal, but frankly, I'm taking my time collecting information and pondering not only the proposals themselves, but also the possible positive and negative second-order effects. While it obviously has been easy for some observers to dramatically jump on elements of the plan with "sky is falling" pronouncements, I am not convinced that such quick and encompassing reactions are appropriate given the complex nature of the issues involved.

And in fact, we do have time to think this all through. The Google/Verizon concepts in question are not a fait accompli, a dictatorial edict, or even at this point a legislative proposal. They are, I suspect, largely the result of prolonged frustration by both firms, who increasingly feel constrained by the stifling regulatory limbo that has become part and parcel of the toxic U.S. political environment. That both firms wish to find some way to shift out of "neutral" and move forward is completely understandable, even as we argue the merits of the particular approach that they have articulated.

If nothing else, even if no elements of the proposal see formal enactment as U.S. policy, the fact that Google and Verizon have put forth this very public conceptual statement -- presumably knowing full well that it would trigger significant criticisms -- will hopefully serve to finally get the ball really rolling again in this contentious policy arena -- and even that alone would be very useful and welcome indeed.


Posted by Lauren at August 10, 2010 12:21 PM | Permalink
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