About two months ago, as a response to their lobbying for government regulation of the internet, I wrote a satire for ATR, on how we need to regulate “Big Google“:
The internet is under threat.A multi-billion dollar multinational corporation is on the verge of strangling all competition, preventing upcoming start ups from growing, and stopping free speech. They even have their own carbon-spewing corporate jets. Their power is immense, and it must be controlled. The future of free speech depends on it.I am, of course, talking about Google. Through their search engine, google.com, Google has the power to make or break sites. Depending on how they write their algorithm, a business can receive millions of hits, or nothing. Google has the power to remove companies at whim from its search resultsWhy should Big Google have all this power? Isn’t it time that we started regulating such companies?Don’t we need to ensure a level playing field? How about a “fair” search algorithm, which treats everyone equally? Every site has the right to appear at the top of a google search!I propose a two-point plan to address this grave injustice. Firstly, the establishment of a National Board of Search Engine Commissars, to regulate Google search rankings. Secondly, the creation of a ‘public option’ search engine, that people can use if they are unhappy with Google. On this public list, in order to address past injustices, sites with the lowest hit counts shall be moved to the top of the rankig. After all, it is only when we take the power of the internet away from the network specialists and google, and give it to bureaucrats, that we will have a truly fair internet. Together, we can save the internet.Sound crazy? Of course it is. No rational person would ever agree to the kind of government takeover that I have just laid out. Yet this is exactly the thing that Google and its allies are pushing for in arguing for ‘net neutrality’ – except that they are targeting network providers, as opposed to content providers. This is exactly what the FCC’s radical proposal to replacing network administrators with bureaucrats wants to do. It is madness.It is only common sense that the only way for the internet to continue to flourish and prosper is to keep the cold dead hand of government as far away from it as possible. Don’t buy into Google’s hypocrisy, and help save the internet from Big Government.
Today, search engines like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft’s new Bing have become the Internet’s gatekeepers, and the crucial role they play in directing users to Web sites means they are now as essential a component of its infrastructure as the physical network itself. The F.C.C. needs to look beyond network neutrality and include “search neutrality”: the principle that search engines should have no editorial policies other than that their results be comprehensive, impartial and based solely on relevance.