In case you haven’t been paying attention today you may want to start because we could be witnessing the end of the internet as we know it. Apparently Google decided to take its corporate philosophy of “You can make money without doing evil,” and turn it into, “Hey, Evil! Cool, let’s do it.”

Google and Verizon, two leading players in Internet service and content, are nearing an agreement that could allow Verizon to speed some online content to Internet users more quickly if the content’s creators are willing to pay for the privilege.

What does this mean? Well if you’re familiar with mafia protection rackets then this needs no explanation, but in case you’re unfamiliar with such sleazy tactics CrunchGear sums it up nicely:

Mountain View is in talks with Verizon that would allow the Big V to prioritize Internet traffic as it sees fit. So, if Site A wants to pay Verizon $X so that it loads faster than Site B, Site B has two options: it could either pay Verizon $2X so that it loads faster, or it can be content with the fact that its rival just paid for better access to the same customer base.

Or, let’s say there’s a nifty new online service like Rdio. In a world without Net Neutrality, ISPs would be able to say to it, “Look, you have a nice service there. But if you want to reach our customers at anything more than [arbitrarily low speeds], you’re going to have to pay for that. Don’t like it, tough.”

If you have a blog that you like to see your site get traffic you better hope that someone else blogging about similar topics isn’t greasing Google and Verizon because, if they are, your content may never even make to the eyes of potential readers. Sound fair?

If we don’t manage to rattle enough cages and make our voices heard and this deal actually goes through, I don’t think it’s reaching to say that the internet as we know it dies as soon as this deal is sealed.

Update

Google responded to the original New York Times article with this tweet:

I’m not completely convinced. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Posted by James Poling

A socialist, tinkerer, thinker, question asker and all around curiosity seeker. If you'd like to reach me you can use the contact link above or email me at jamespoling [at] gmail [dot] com.

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