We Should Be More Worried About Our ISPs Than Google When It Comes To Abuse

from the pay-attention dept

With the government gearing up to potentially go after Google for antitrust violations, we’re seeing all sorts of press coverage of stories about how Google may be abusing its position, from supposedly hurting companies to potentially having too much insight into your web surfing activities. And, no one’s gloating over this turn of events more than some of the broadband providers, who often find themselves at odds with Google over issues such as net neutrality, patent reform and other issues. Yet, as some new research is suggesting, it’s odd that there’s so much of a spotlight focused on Google, when those same ISPs are a much bigger privacy threat. They have a lot more visibility into our online activities, a lot more control over what users do, and (unlike Google) it’s a lot more difficult to route around them. Plus, many have shown that they have no problems selling your private data — sometimes without letting you know. So, why is all the attention focused on Google? If it’s abusing our privacy, then it’s easy to switch to a competitor. Broadband ISPs, on the other hand, have a lot more control and visibility — and a much tighter grip on customers, usually with fewer competitive options. Yet, the government rolls over backwards to let these ISPs do what they want, while it prepares an antitrust lawsuit against Google?

Filed Under: , , ,
Companies: google

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “We Should Be More Worried About Our ISPs Than Google When It Comes To Abuse”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Lisa Westveld (profile) says:

An interesting note to add...

I’ve linked to a Dutch newssite (Sorry, no english translation) about some actions that Dutch ISP’s are taking in an attempt to clean up the Internet.
First of all, the Dutch justice system has examined the possibility to have certain sites blocked by the ISPs. (Sites containing childporn, btw.) They started pushing those ISPs here into taking appropiate actions already while Justice would find any legal means to force these ISPs to block those sites.
Unfortunately, research showed that Dutch Law doesn’t allow Justice to dictate those ISPs which sites need to be blocked. Thus, agreements between justice and several ISPs about this censorship had no legal grounds and would be unconstitutional.

So, now the ISPs have decided to take matters in their own hands. They will still continue to block certain sites but an independant organisation will be maintaining the blacklist of sites that need to be blocked.
But who will be keeping an eye on this “independant” organisation? What if they block more than just childporn sites? What if they block certain political sites? Or some other, innocent sites? It’s a step in the direction of the Chinese Firewall and to be honest, it doesn’t solve any problems. It just covers them up…

And that’s the power that ISPs have. They sooner or later will dictate which sites we can visit… And they’re watching every step we take online…

NeoConBushSupporter says:

Re: Re: Google is marxists

“I hope your just a troll, because judging by the nickname on here, your all for big business running the show, they have your entire party in their pocket already, with the same goon squad running things into the ground since Reagan.”

Google hates our freedoms and you should support an administration that is trying to do something about it. Terrorists are using Google to find stuff and chat or whatever! If we dont stop Google, AlQuida wins!

VOTE McCain 2008 – the politics of failure have failed, together we can make them work again!

Danny says:

The government is bought and paid for by the media companies and the telcom. Google is not a media, nor is it a telcom. Therefore, the ISPs (which are all either telcoms or media companies) get the protection while their nemesis, google, gets the wrath.

Like the old guy said its a matter of power and money. Google is a threat to the old power and money of the ISPs therefore they need their lackeys (that would be the governent) to do their dirty work for them.

Steven Leach (profile) says:

Goggle is not the problem the ISP's and the Govt are the problem

IF we look back through the short history of the commercial internet we can see that the telecom, cable, and wireless companies, have always been granted limited monopolies, or at most duoploies in most urban areas. So how does the government going after Google, which has managed to grab, or earn a fairly large majority of the advertisement money surprise anyone. Especially after Google, and several other companies organized a campaign to bring this situation to the forefront and make “Net Neutrality” an actual meaningful political issue. I am surprised that the government has waited this long to actually go after, Google. The governments plan is fairly obvious at this point. Breakup Google, or at least make the company submit, so that the creation of tarriff to further feed the telecom, cable companies can go forward without the hue and cry that previously threatened the political establishment. The government is increasingly becoming an arm of the large multinational corporations in their quest for more power, money. I am saddened that this will further erode any “rights” we have, unless we all just begin to ignore the laws, in which case we will become subject to the rule of the strongest. So I have no solutions only warnings, that “Big Brother” society is coming later than 1984, but that society does not include “double think” but control of what we see and hear.

Serial says:

im so sick of isps

first of, we know this is all about money and how ISPs are allowed to do what they want… look at comcast; they want to limit peoples bandwidth over a specified period of time, if you have sattelite internet you know exactly what im talking about. Where do they get off trying to get away with that? I believe we should have DSL @ 768kbps down available to people for free. Cable @ 1.5 – 2.0 Mbps for free. If you want speeds faster than that… you should have to pay. but other than that, we are all paying for internet that should be FREE! Who put a price tag on it anyways? did comcast discover TCP software? Did Time Warner Cable discover TCP protocal? we had ARPANET, USENET, UUNET, NYSERNET, etc. and they were all controlled by the Government, did we pay for those networks when they were finally released for commercial use? but still yet. did they create TCP/IP? NO! and it ticks me off every month when that bills comes in because we all pay for something that should be free.

No such thing says:

Competition between ISPs ?

ISP(s) could be considered a utility and therefore regulated under the public utilities commision. Not saying that would solve anything, but it is a big stick.

They (ISP) claim that there is competition in the market place, but we all know that is not the case.

Most if not all of the instances where a once regulated entitiy was deregulated has caused problems ranging from minor to major. Allowing the various ISPs to do what ever they want is not a good idea.

Lisa Westveld (profile) says:


Techdirt has an URL field in the reply part but that URL is never shown. 🙂

The link I posted was http://www.nu.nl/news/1745563/52/Providers_blokkeren_samen_kinderporno.html which is an initiative by Dutch ISP’s to block child porn sites. Basically, the Dutch justice system started the whole thing just to discover that it would be illegal for the Dutch state to keep a list of banned sites. (Something related to freedom of speech or whatever.)
But local ISP’s have already started to block several sites and they just want to continue this so they’re going to create a separate organisation that will be responsible for maintaining a blacklist of sites. So in a way, our justice system did get this whole bad idea started.

And why is it a bad idea? First of all, censorship doesn’t work that well. The Great Firewall of China isn’t that effective either since those who want to bypass it, know how to do so. Furthermore, how do we know that this blacklist only contains child porn sites? They could also misuse the same blacklist to block certain political sites or informational sites.

Google translated link: http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http://www.nu.nl/news/1745563/52/Providers_blokkeren_samen_kinderporno.html&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&sl=nl&tl=en

Then again, it’s bad when justice tries to enforce censorship on ISP’s. It’s worse when those same ISP’s just decide to work together and come up with their own censorship.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...