You are here

Let's see how principled Google's Open Internet Coalition is on protecting free speech

How timely for the Google-backed Open Internet Coalition to be writing Congress asking for Congressional hearings on allegations of censorship of free speech on the Internet.

  • If you go to the Open Internet Coalition's website you will see that they believe the issue of protecting digital free speech is now the coalition's most important issue, and their call for hearings is obviously well-coordinated with Move.org's SaveTheInternet and FreePress slogan megaphones.

However, there is now a new twist to the issue. The Open Internet Coalition's leader, Google, has blocked, and still is blocking, the most obvious form of political free speech, by blocking U.S. Senator Susan Collins' anti-Moveon.org ads from Google. It will be interesting to hear how Google/Open Internet coalition respond to Congressional inquiries on Google's ongoing censorship of political free speech.  

  • Might it not be good theatre to see how Google/Open Internet coalition/SaveTheInternet/FreePress, squirm and contort trying to explain in House/Senate hearings:
    • how Google is not censoring free speech in denying a sitting U.S. Senator campaign ads, or is not an ongoing free speech censorship problem for not admiting the mistake or correcting the problem after a week since the problem was highlighted...?
    • But somehow, Verizon and AT&T are threats to free speech when they had extremely rare incidents which they immediately admitted were mistakes, took immediate corrective action to fix, and then took forward-action to be sure that it would not happen again?    

Only in Googleland, where regulatory special treatment is expected and the normal laws and rules that apply to everyone else supposedly don't apply to the perfect "don't be evil" Google, would Google expect these Google-lobbied-for free speech hearings to not involve questions of Google's respect for free speech.

I applaud the savvy of Google/Open Internet Coaltion for sending their free speech letter to:

  • Senate committees who would surely grant a fellow Senator the common courtesy of being able to ask witnesses from either Google or the Open Internet Coalition why Google is continuing to interfere with a U.S. Senate election and censoring free speech; and
  • The House Judiciary Committee which has indicated that it is interested in scheduling a hearing on the antitrust and privacy implications of the proposed Google-DoubleClick merger. (maybe they could kill two birds with one stone...)

Bottomline: Time will tell whether the Google/SavetheInternet/FreePress crowd really supports free speech or is just engaged in very selective political grandstanding to forward their net neutrality agenda. 

  • Bipartisan congressional hearings have a way of fairly vetting these issues and highlighting hypocrisy...
  • Maybe Google will "move on" to another political tactic...       
Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths