Google, Can You Hear Us Now?

Internet users from across the Bay Area converged outside Google headquarters on Friday to denounce the search engine giant for striking a pact with Verizon that puts the open Internet in jeopardy.

“Those here today represent more than 300,000 people around the country who are publicly calling on Google not to turn its back on the platform and community that enabled it to thrive in the first place,” said James Rucker, executive director of ColorofChange.org. “They’re hoping the president, Congress and the FCC get the message, too. We've seen what happens when big industry is able to write its own rules — look at the banks, look at BP. We cannot let the same thing happen with the Internet.”

Check out the picture of Rucker at the rally below:


Dozens rallied in Mountain View, Calif., urging the company to reverse course and live up to its corporate motto: “Don’t Be Evil.” Here are more shots of the crowd and the press presence. The Raging Grannies were out in full force, and so were the kids.

The rally was organized by ColorofChange.org, Credo Action, MoveOn.org, Free Press and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.

“Google has a choice,” said Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. “They can continue being seen as an Internet hero, or they can quickly see their brand associated with evil. Every day that goes by, their brand takes a huge hit.”

Google previously had been a champion of policies such as Net Neutrality — the fundamental principle that keeps the Internet open and free from discrimination. Its decision to team up with Verizon, long an opponent of such policies, has drawn the ire of public interest advocates.

“Google has a choice,” said Becky Bond, political director of CREDO Action. “Remain true to its users and the cause of Internet freedom, or sell out and align itself with the big telecom companies like Verizon and AT&T that have spent millions trying to kill Net Neutrality. We want Google to stay true to its principles and abandon this shocking, cynical backroom deal.”

The protesters in Mountain View delivered hundreds of thousands of letters and petitions from people across the country urging Google to abandon the proposal, which fails to protect Internet users from discrimination on wireless networks and could create a tiered “private Internet” reserved for a few big corporations.

"Google's evil deal with Verizon and AT&T is a cynical power-grab designed to enrich these corporations while killing the same open Internet that allowed Google to flourish in the first place,” said Justin Ruben, executive director of MoveOn.org. “Google should reconsider if they hope to retain their reputation. Otherwise, President Obama and the FCC must denounce this deal. Google is threatening the very core of Internet freedom."

The Google-Verizon pact has also been criticized by Silicon Valley companies, including Facebook, venture capitalists, legal scholars and leading members of Congress. The Federal Communications Commission is now considering rules to safeguard Net Neutrality and ensure the agency has the authority to protect Internet users.

“Google was once the little guy in the garage, and thanks to the protections of Net Neutrality, it was able to grow into an Internet giant,” said Craig Aaron, managing director of Free Press. “But if this proposal were to become law, the next Google, now being dreamed up out there in a garage somewhere, would never get the same chance. That’s why the FCC should reject this pact and start protecting the open Internet, where anyone with a good idea can innovate without permission from corporate gatekeepers.”

People + Policy

= Positive Change for the Public Good

people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good