Tech at Night: Google, Net Neutrality, More Electoral Fallout
Good evening. Apologies again for missing two of three Tech at Night episodes last week. I can only plead an overabundance of desire for the weekend causing me to be forgetful on Friday. But that just means we have more to look at tonight, so let’s go.
Yes, the forces of Net Neutrality Internet regulation were beaten badly last week. How badly? We already knew that All 95 PCCC Net Neutrality Pledge signers lost, but on top of that, the PCCC itself raised only $300 on the cause. Even if every donor gave only one dollar, that’s the sign of a failing fringe movement, not a popular position with broad, bipartisan support.
It gets worse for the Net Neutrality regulators. Every candidate who came out unequivocally against Net Neutrality won, says the Center for Individual Freedom. I’m guessing they’re using an extremely narrow definition, because I remember Carly Fiorina putting out a rather good statement on the issue, and she unfortunately did not win. But the contrast between the pro-regulation losers and the anti-regulation, pro-freedom winners is clear enough.
And it gets worse still. The FCC is showing no signs of addressing the issue in its November agenda, which is the last chance before the new Congress is sworn in. So our old friends Free Press and their pet Commissioner Michael Copps are getting desperate. They claim the Future of the Internet™ is at stake when Copps speaks… in Albuquerque. I have nothing against New Mexico, mind you. I believe Microsoft even got its start there. But to me this is a sign that Copps is trying to fight back against the race-based groups who (rightly) view Net Neutrality as mutually exclusive with greater accessibility to the Internet. If the forces of regulation have any hope, they must at least get more Democrats back on board, and that’s what this is about.
And before I shut down for the night, one last note: The EU is coming after Google. I’m torn: naturally when the EU comes after a US firm I tense up, but in this case the Euros are simply demanding that firms collecting information about people respect the wishes of those people to control information about themselves. Simple enough, respectful enough. But possibly a threat to Google’s continuing prosperity. We will have to watch.