ByÂ Andy Bloxham, The Guardian
Google, the internet giant, has been accused of betraying one of the most widely accepted “laws” of the internet called net neutrality; the principle that everyone has equal access.
The firm has admitted that it has been in talks with the US communications providerÂ Verizon and even agreed an outline plan on how internet traffic should be carried over networks.
However, many have already voiced fears that if the plan becomes public, it could serve as a blueprint for how to carve up the internet and sell the best performance to the highest bidder.
Some critics have described it as “doomsday scenario” that “marks the beginning of the end of the internet as you know it”.
Google said discrimination is permissible in some circumstances.
The principle of net neutrality was one of the founding ideas of the web.
Gigi Sohn, president ofÂ Public Knowledge, a digital rights campaign group, said: “The deal between Verizon and Google about how to manage internet traffic is deeply regrettable and should be considered meaningless.
“The fate of the internet is too large a matter to be decided by negotiations involving two companies.”
Josh Silver, president ofÂ Free Press, a media reform group,Â wrote a piece in the Huffington Post and warned: “Since its beginnings, the Net was a level playing field that allowed all content to move at the same speed, whether it’s ABC News or your uncle’s video blog.
“That’s all about to change, and the result couldn’t be more bleak for the future of the Internet, for television, radio and independent voices.”
Eric Schmidt, the chief executive of Google, said it had been “talking to Verizon for a long time about trying to get an agreement on what the definition of net neutrality is”.
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