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Google Sr Advisor Al Gore is the ringleader of "Google's Poodles"

Self-described "Internet inventor" and former Vice President Al Gore has a newly released book "The Assault on Reason" in which he comes out of the shadows and into the limelight as a leading public proponent of net neutrality.  

The Save the Internet coalition blogged/bragged about the book in its post: Al Gore: Net Neutrality is the key to a better democracy."  They lifted some Gore quotes that gave them lots of "warm fuzzies" inside:

  • “neutrality should be the central tenet that will set us on a path toward an open, democratic Internet where free speech and free markets are encouraged.â€?
    • Wait a minute. The term "net neutrality" was only coined as late as 2002 by a socialist Columbia Law Professor!
    • But Gore claims to have invented the Internet before 1992!
    • Who's right? 
    • Moreover, Mr. Gore, factually the net has never been neutral.
  • “More than one and a half million citizens contacted Congress and more than eight hundred organizations joined the SavetheInternet Coalition, organized by the upstart media reform organization Free Press, using innovative online mobilization tactics …â€?
    • Thank you Mr. Gore from coming out from the shadows and coming clean by publicly endorsing the efforts of, and tacitly acknowledging your strong ringleader role in managing "Google's poodles",  SaveTheInternet and FreePress.
    • The still unanswered question is how many tens of millions of dollars has Mr. Gore made from his boatload of Google options/warrants granted to him as "Senior Advisor" to Google?"
    • And where are the disclosures in the book that most all of Mr. Gore's multi-ten million dollar net worth is in Google shares -- constituting a huge undisclosed conflict of interest on the issue of net neutrality.    
  • “I truly believe the most important factor is the preservation of the Internet’s potential for becoming the new neutral marketplace of ideas that is so needed for the revitalization of American democracy,â€? he writes. “People are not only fighting for free speech online, but they are also working to keep the Internet a decentralized, ownerless medium of mass communication and commerce.â€?

Why the public interest groups are "Google's Poodles"

Nick Carr wrote a dead-on column in the Gaurdian: "The net is being carved up into information plantations."

His thesis is the irony that as the web adds more and more destinations on line, fewer people seem to be visiting them.

  • He cites statistics that in 2001, the top 10 websites accounted for 31% of page views and that in 2006 that same number grew to  40%.

What's my point? You know I always have a tie in.

This hyper-media concentration that is occurring on the web is much much greater than has occurred in traditional media.

SaveTheInternet effectively endorses "digital socialism"

SaveTheInternet and net neutrality proponents are losing their populist message discipline, and starting to show their true philosphical colors in blatantly calling for what is effectively "digital socialism."

Andrew Rasiej, the founder of The Personal Democracy Forum, challenged Presidential candidates to become the next "Tech President" in a recent blogpost. It's important to note that his views are mainstream in the net neutrality movement as evidenced by the hearty endorsement they received by SaveTheInternet and by Wired Magazine Blog.

Google sells out Thai free speech just like they sold out Chinese

The New York Times reported that "Google has agreed to block four video clips on its YouTube Web site that the Government of Thailand said insulted its king."  

  • The end of the NYT article explains that the military coup leaders in Thailand "have also used the strict laws about the monarchy to stifle criticism of themselves or their actions."

This is not the first time that Google, which waxes eloquently about how net neutrality is needed to promote free speech, has hypocritically stabbed free speech in the back for its own expedience.

NAACP official slams net neutrality effect on low-income consumers

I wanted to be sure folks saw what Greg Moore, Executive Director of the National NAACP Voter Fund said recently on net neutrality in a commentary piece in the Asbury Park Press

  • "Given the proven impact of broadband prices on its adoption, policies that increase the cost to users should be forbidden. Now, some well-intentioned online activists are pushing regulations called "net neutrality," which would keep costs low for the large Internet content companies but shift the costs of network expansion mostly to consumers."
  • "The effects could be disastrous for low-income and minority communities, pricing them out of the broadband market by guaranteeing a free ride to companies such as Google and eBay while shifting costs for broadband expansion back to consumers. Although net neutrality activists claim to be protecting free speech, net neutrality regulations would effectively silence many minority voices, as low-income communities drop off the online landscape because they can't afford the price of admission."

Extremely well said!

The "Open Net Coalition" -- "ItsOurNet" Part II -- They're back!

The ItsOurNet coalition is relaunching under a new name the "Open Internet Coalition" in May according to Todays' National Journal's Tech Daily .

  • The article intimates that the new incarnation of the online giant coalition may not include Microsoft.
    • Since ItsOurNet formed last year Google was much more radical and hyper-regulatory than Microsoft was comfortable with.
    • After coming out swinging the antitrust bat when Google outbid Microsoft, it will be very surprising if Microsoft rejoins Google's gang after parting ways with ItsOurNet last fall.

I must say I am sad to see the ItsOurNet name fall by the wayside, it was a glorious pinata of a concept.

  • I needled ItsOurNet when they announced their name that it was a tad bit greedy for the online giants to claim in their name that they "owned" the Internet.
  • I suggested it would have been a little wiser and fit with their "democratic" message to have called it "ItsEveryonesNet" or "ItsEverybodysNet".
  • But no, they apparently are calling it the "Open Net coalition" or "OpenNetCoalition.com."
  • Not bad but for grins, quickly checkout an Internet artifact before they pull it down: opennetcoalition.org.

It also will be interesting to see if they have retooled the substance of their message and if they will abandon Moveon.org and the Dorgan-Snowe bill to try and appear more reasonable and practical.

Reading between the lines of the article it seems Moveon is "on" the defensive so to speak.

lastly it will be interesting to see if:

Net neutrality is embarassingly absent from Democrat's tech policy agenda

Declan McCullagh of CNET has a very insightful piece called: "Missing : Politicians who take a clear stand on tech" where he spotlights that net neutrality is not on either the Democrat or Republican tech policy agendas.

  • It is not at all surprising that the Congressional Republican agenda does not have Net neutrality on its agenda, since Republicans almost universally see net neutrality for what it is: an unnecessary and dangerous back door attempt to regulate the Internet for the first time.
  • However, it is suprising and downright embarassing that Moveon.org and Google, eBay, Amazon, Yahoo, and IAC could not manage to get net neutrality on the Congressional Democratic tech policy agenda.

Takeaways from SaveTheInternet's "first anniversary" conference call

I listened in to SaveTheInternet's conference call with reporters in celebration of their one year anniversary.

  • It was an illuminating "window" into the nature and status of the current Net neutrality "movement."

Senator Dorgan (D-ND) author of the pending Dorgan-Snowe Bill was the keynote and star.  

  • He framed net neutrality as  "Internet freedom" and "open architecture" and breathlessly stated that "the future of the Internet is at stake." 
  • He announced that he was seeking a hearing on his legislation with the goal of moving it to the Senate floor implying he had the votes to pass it.
  • He also anticipated and asked himself the core question of "why is the legislation needed?"
    • His only answer was to read the December 2005 Business Week quote by then SBC Chairman Ed Whitacre about how it was "nuts" for Google to use its pipes for free.
    • I was stunned that he as the keynote and the name author of the legislation that he could not come up with a more recent or better piece of "evidence" or at least come up with a real world example of a problem or instance he is concerned about.
      • This is obviously all politics; they have no substance or they would present it.

Craig Newmark was second to speak and he asserted everyone he knew was for NN. (I guess we should give up now.)

Why not ask GAO to settle debate over validity of OECD broadband rankings?

Listening to the House and Senate Democrats in yesterday's congressional hearings say "there can be no debate" "or dispute" that the U.S. is falling behind in broadband, when House and Senate Republicans, expert witnesses and the Administration were debating the validity of that very point directly before them, indicates that this "debatable point" is the exact type of "assessment of the facts" for which the Congress created the GAO to sort out.

Congressional Democrats appear to be embracing the findings of the OECD on broadband as gospel when the OECD has obvious competitive motive to put EU countries in the best light and the U.S. in the worst light.

Moveon.org 2nd largest PAC in 2006 -- the prime "mover" behind net neutrality

I always knew Moveon.org was a powerful political force, but I just learned how powerful -- Moveon.org was the second largest Political Action Committee (PAC) in the US in 2006, according to the Washington Post "In The Loop" column by Jeffery H. Birnbaum.

  • Moveon.org, with its 3 million person email list, was the second-largest PAC with $27.7 million, after Emily's List at $34.1 million. Political MoneyLine was the cited source. 

Moveon.org's political clout combined with its zealousness for promoting net neturality regulation and the front-loaded 2008 political process mean net neutrality will likely remain on the "techcom" political agenda as a key issue for the foreseeable future -- despite getting repudiated by the House, Senate, Supreme Court, FCC, FTC, NTIA, Maryland, Michigan to only name the most prominent forums that rejected regulating the Internet.

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths