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Net Neutrality Advocates Arrested at Google Headquarters


Regarding the current debate over the FCC’s proposed fast lanes, most consider Google a supporter of Net Neutrality. In early May, Google signed a letter to the FCC opposing fast lanes. In early June, Google supported the Reset the Net campaign, a protest against mass data collection. Google has also recently released tools to assess the quality of individuals’ Internet service providers in order to increase transparency and promote competition among ISPs. For many techies, these actions suggest that Google desires an Open Internet and opposes mass data surveillance from the United States government.

OccupyGoogle, an online advocacy group, does not agree. “What we are to looking to create and maintain,” its website states, “is an Internet that acts as a free speech zone, a horizontal space for communication and sharing of information, and a public commons.” The website demands that Google blackout its website for one day to protest the FCC’s fast lane proposal, that Google add a link to its homepage to connect searchers with petitions, and that Google employ its own resources to “fight back.”

On June 24th, supporters of the OccupyGoogle movement arrived at Google’s Mountain View Headquarters in order to “pressure Google to take action and protect net neutrality in order to maintain an open Internet.” Protesters brought a tent, a canopy, a banner, and even a guitar to apply this pressure.

TechCrunch reports that arrests occurred shortly thereafter and that Google declined to comment on the protest or the arrests.

While OccupyGoogle’s stance does not resemble the typical American’s attitude toward an Open Internet or fast lanes, the protest indicates that some take this Net Neutrality debate very seriously indeed.

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More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley, former CTO of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), is Founder and CTO of Crucial Point LLC, a technology research and advisory firm providing fact based technology reviews in support of venture capital, private equity and emerging technology firms. He has extensive industry experience in intelligence and security and was awarded an intelligence community meritorious achievement award by AFCEA in 2008, and has also been recognized as an Infoworld Top 25 CTO and as one of the most fascinating communicators in Government IT by GovFresh.