Google Lobbied Against Real Net Neutrality In India, Just Like It Did In The States

from the only-a-little-bit-evil dept

While Google is still seen as (and proclaims to be) a net neutrality advocate, evidence continues to mount that this is simply no longer the case. Back in 2010 you might recall that Google helped co-write the FCC’s original, flimsy net neutrality rules with the help of folks like AT&T and Verizon — ensuring ample loopholes and making sure the rules didn’t cover wireless at all. When the FCC moved to finally enact notably-tougher neutrality rules for wired and wireless networks earlier this year, Google was publicly mute but privately active in making sure the FCC didn’t seriously address the problems with usage caps and zero-rated (cap exempt) content.

While the company pretends this isn’t a notable turnaround from previous principles, the evidence is on the table for all to see.

As India has been exploring net neutrality rules it’s again apparent that, if not at least leaning into the anti-neutrality rule camp — Google sure as hell is not helping. Both Google and Facebook have come under fire recently for their zero rating efforts overseas, which include exempting some select partner content from usage caps, and setting up walled garden fiefdoms under the banner of selfless altruism. Critics charge that these plans create vast inequalities in connectivity and violate Internet openness, and that if the companies’ really want to help the poor, they can help subsidize truly open Internet access.

While Facebook has responded to this criticism by insisting that all of its critics are extremists should they dare question Facebook’s noble intentions, Google’s again chosen a more subtle route; staying mute on the subject publicly but quietly working behind the scenes to weaken the final rules:

“Google joined hands with Facebook to try and prevent the Internet and Mobile Association of India, which represents some of the largest Internet companies in India, from taking a stand that counters Zero Rating. According to emails exchanged between IAMAI?s Government Relations committee members, of which MediaNama has copies, Vineeta Dixit, a member of Google?s Public Policy and and Government Relations team, strongly pushed for the removal of any mention of Zero Rating from the IAMAI?s submission, as a response to the Department of Telecom?s report on Net Neutrality. Please note that Google hasn?t responded to our queries, despite multiple reminders…

Apparently Google was preparing to launch its own zero-rated effort in India but put those plans on hold once it saw Facebook taking a public relations beating. And while Google’s been very careful to even avoid having any of its positions on the record, these e-mails show it pushed India’s wireless carriers to make sure they all were on board supporting zero rating:

“Dixit?s email to the IAMAI government relations committee, while reasoning that there is no consensus on Zero Rating, asked for its removal from the submission, saying: ?We would like to register strong protest against this formulation and would request you to remove this (Zero Rating) from the submission.”

So yes, this is basically Google’s net neutrality modus operandi now: publicly say as little as possible (while harvesting press and public acclaim for being a net neutrality “supporter”) while privately undermining real neutrality. As we’ve discussed with both AT&T’s sponsored data and T-Mobile’s Music Freedom, such a model gives preferential treatment to larger companies while making life immediately harder for smaller outfits, independents and non-profits. And Google’s ok with that. Worth remembering the next time Google (or a press outlet) proclaims that Google’s still a noble champion on the net neutrality front.

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Companies: facebook, google

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Comments on “Google Lobbied Against Real Net Neutrality In India, Just Like It Did In The States”

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49 Comments
That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The smart ones realize that unless you’ve got a monopoly on whatever it is you’re offering(or your customers are masochistic idiots), looking out for your customers is looking out for #1, because a company whose customers have gone elsewhere due to being mistreated is one that’s not going to be around very long.

The ones with a monopoly of course don’t care, because what are their customers going to do, go to the competition that doesn’t exist?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

They are a Google shill. You don’t see them complaining about how Google is completely funded by piracy. Google paid them to ignore that fact. They only criticize Google for the minor things and here they are even criticizing Google for going in the right direction in the direction of wanting more draconian laws. This post is really a boost to Google’s reputation.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Why, the RIAA and the MPAA of course. Copyright law. Infringement is even responsible for the humanitarian crisis in Haiti!!! Just Google / Techdirt search it for proof.

Please note the obvious. This post is sarcasm as was the post claiming Google receives all their money from piracy.

Anonymous Coward says:

So you're still okay with Google spying and tracking everyone all over the web for targeted advertising and giving NSA "direct access"?

Because this scheming is about one-thousandth of the evil that Google does every day. BUT at least you’re now on the right track.

Sheesh.

EVERYONE noticed the DISTINCT difference. I left obvious bait alone to see what’d happen. You clearly found a popular target, so let’s have MORE!

I LIKE the AC who suggests Google’s check hasn’t come this month! That may even be true. People DO see through you, Techdirt.


@ This comments section is confusing by Anonymous Coward
@ I have no idea if half of you people are sarcastic or serious. :V

I’m pretty sure those against Google are genuine, and the fanboys just don’t know what to make of this sudden change from Techdirt!


Gwiz wrote: “Google turned me into a newt.” — That’s just what I thought. You were a worm before and you love Google for raising you to newt. — A separate “sheesh” just for you. What are you, thirteen? Feeble and unnecessary “funny” shows inability to deal with facts.

Sheogorath (profile) says:

Re: So you're still okay with Google spying and tracking everyone all over the web for targeted advertising and giving NSA "direct access"?

I LIKE the AC who suggests Google’s check hasn’t come this month! That may even be true.
Either present evidence that Techdirt shills for Google or STFU. Reported.
You were a worm before and you love Google for raising you to newt. — A separate “sheesh” just for you. What are you, thirteen? Feeble and unnecessary “funny” shows inability to deal with facts.
Reported for the above flame as well.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: False Dichotomy

Once again, your thinking is far to black and white.

You think Google is evil, net neutrality, and fair use are evil and you think the record companies, strict copyright laws, and kicking puppies are evil.

Nothing is ever that black and white (except kicking puppies, you’re right about that one).

Google can be good and can be bad and the record companies can be good and can be bad (even if their mouth pieces and business managers and lawyers appear to be the scum of the earth).

Techdirt doesn’t have to be pro-Google or anti-Google. Calling it like it is when Google does something good or bad is just being observant and having an opinion.

I would gladly donate $20 towards the tuition for you to take a moral philosophy course at your nearest community college if it would at all improve your comments.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Techdirt agrees with Google, you whine.
Techdirt criticizes Google, you whine.

Seriously, if you’re only here to turn every article into a fetishized masturbation session where you dream of antidirt infringing the copyright on your asshole, you can go choke your own chicken elsewhere. Preferably using a guillotine.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: So you're still okay with Google spying and tracking everyone all over the web for targeted advertising and giving NSA "direct access"?

Gwiz wrote: “Google turned me into a newt.” — That’s just what I thought. You were a worm before and you love Google for raising you to newt. — A separate “sheesh” just for you. What are you, thirteen? Feeble and unnecessary “funny” shows inability to deal with facts.

I guess you are simply too dimwitted to pick-up on the obvious popular culture reference to jumping on the witchhunt bandwagon.

My apologies if my sense of humor is too sophisticated for you.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: So you're still okay with Google spying and tracking everyone all over the web for targeted advertising and giving NSA "direct access"?

To be fair, the output of Monty Python is way, way down the list of things of which he’s completely ignorant. If only he didn’t display his ignorance so loudly and proudly rather than, say, working to not be ignorant. Being so stupid clearly takes some effort, even if he’s just a sad, lonely troll rather than an honestly unhinged obsessive.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: So you're still okay with Google spying and tracking everyone all over the web for targeted advertising and giving NSA "direct access"?

I have to admit I am stunned. The reference, by the way, doesn’t come from the TV show but from their most famous movie, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”. If you haven’t seen this, you really should. Unless you hate laughing, of course.

Anonymous Coward says:

You know what? Screw it: Google has become so big that the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand does anymore.
They have so many self contradictory practices, not to mention the wasp’s nest they stirred with the Oracle API lawsuit that they lost recently.

Google should really rein in its lawyers before they manage to damage the company irreparably one day.
Also its new-found tendency to go for short-term profits.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Funded By Piracy

As I understand it, it goes something like this.

1. ‘Pirate’ sites make tons of money off of ads(1).
2. Google both offers these ads(2), and links to them, giving them a cut of the profits.
3. To protect the massive income stream of money from the pirate site ads, which vastly dwarfs the amount coming from other sources, Google looks the other way and in fact makes sure to prioritize such sites to increase traffic(3) to them, and as a result increase their cut.
4. Therefore, Google is funded by piracy.(4)

(1) Ignore for the moment how only seriously dodgy companies would ever offer their ads on ‘pirate’ sites, and tend to pay pittance even compared to the usual low rates.

(2) Ignore for the moment how they do not, due to not wanting to open themselves up to legal issues that they don’t need, and in fact are apparently ridiculously trigger happy when it comes to pulling ads off of even potential ‘pirate’ sites thanks to the desire to avoid said legal issues.

(3) Ignore for the moment how #1&2 make the ‘income’ from such site insanely low, if not non-existent. Also ignore how said pittance wouldn’t even begin to pay a fraction of the legal fees that are regularly incurred by Google thanks to the parasites demanding that Google ‘do something’ regarding piracy, fees that would only increase if Google was actually trying to increase piracy rates.

(4) At this point you should be practiced enough ignoring reality that you have a promising career in either politics or the ‘entertainment’ industry should you wish to take either up.

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