Some of the most vocal critics of the Verizon-Google "framework" for open Internet access will be taking to the streets tomorrow to protest what they see as a naked power grab to give corporations control over cyberspace.
A rally to be held outside Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., at noon tomorrow has been scheduled. It's sponsored by Free Press, ColorofChange.org, Credo Action, MoveOn.org and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.
"The Google-Verizon plan would create two separate, unequal sections of the Internet--a high speed and exclusive fast lane for big business, and a slow lane, the 'public Internet' that would be available to the rest of us," Josh Levy, online campaign manager for Free Press wrote in a letter that announced the rally and was sent this afternoon to some 16,000 activists in the San Francisco Bay area.
"The Internet would become like cable TV," Levy continued, "with a limited number of websites controlled by big media corporations. Free speech online could become a thing of the past."
"We must show that the public--of all stripes--is against Google and Verizon's plan to turn control of the Internet over to corporations," he added. "This is not a left-right issue. This is an American issue."
To some observers, the vociferous condemnation of the Verizon-Google plan by the groups sponsoring the rally only shows their inability to compromise on public policy. "Historically, what government does to make good policy is bring people together and come up with a compromise that's reasonable and rational," Robert D. Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation in Washington, D.C told PCWorld. "These people do not want any kind of compromise."
"If you look at the proposal carefully, it provides a fair amount of protection against discriminating against packets," he argued. "It's a little weak on the wireless part," he acknowledged. "Even there, though, it doesn't say we shouldn't regulate it."
"This is about demonizing what Google and Verizon have done," he added.