Stop Corporate Cyberextortion

How do we organize ourselves to prevent corporate cyberextortion? It’s only a matter of time before they threaten individual users. Even more importantly how do we get the average non-blog reading Internet user to know and care about this issue?

The Issue
Basically big corporations who provide Internet access to companies such as Google and Yahoo want to charge them extra for “preferred services”. This could speed up, slow down, or block an individual users access to search services Google and Yahoo provide. Imagine not being able to find what you want via a Google search. In essence Bell South and Verizon want to put a traffic cop at the Internet spigot and control what SPECIFIC data goes through, how much, how often, and at what quality. This is not the free flow of information that the Internet was built upon.

Read what other people have to say about attempts at corporate cyberextortion by big telcos like Bell South.

From Preston Gralla:

“BellSouth and Verizon have been trying to force big Web sites to pay extortion-type fees if the sites want adequate bandwidth, with Google a prime target. But Google has news for them: It won’t pay.”

“Google’s Barry Schnitt told Paul in an email: “Google is not discussing sharing of the costs of broadband networks with any carrier. We believe consumers are already paying to support broadband access to the Internet through subscription fees and, as a result, consumers should have the freedom to use this connection without limitations.”

From Cory Doctorow:

“Google has rebuffed to an outrageous demand by BellSouth, in which the phone company proposed to charge Google for access to its customers. Bill Smith of Bell South told reporters that he wanted “to charge Yahoo Inc. for the opportunity to have its search site load faster than that of Google Inc.” Google has responded with an unequivocal no — a flat refusal to pay blood-money to carriers to keep them from discriminating against its services. Honestly, what the hell is BellSouth thinking? The whole point of an ISP is that it delivers the same packets as every other ISP; anything else is substandard. There’s only one Google, but T1s come and go.”

From Doc Searls: (Thanks for all the links Doc!)

“BellSouth wasn’t thinking. They were doing what big carriers usually do, which is look for ways to make big money with tiered service to big customers. Dumb, perhaps, in this case; but predictable.”

[ Doc wins the best blog post title of the year (so far) IMHO: Google to BellSouth: Go Tier Yourself a New One ]

For LOTs of context read Doc’s Saving the Net: How to Keep the Carriers from Flushing the Net Down the Tubes.

Washington Post:
Executive Wants to Charge for Web Speed and The Coming Tug of War Over the Internet

I wrote a post called Angry BellSouth and Anti-Public Good Chapel Hill Business, about similar issues with the data access war here in Chapel Hill,NC.

Thanks to Ed Cone for reminding me about this serious subject.

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