The following would indicate that he is. Newmark supports efforts by Google’s “Save the Internet Coalition” to shackle the Internet with regulations on ISPs that are totally unprecedented in the history of the Internet, yet he flatly denies advocating any government regulation. This is truly an amazing exchange, and it certainly doesn’t speak well for the Google Coalition’s choice of spokespeople.
Newmark’s insistence on level playing fields and the absence of prioritization raises an interesting question for me. Google prioritizes search results, based on a secret and tricky technique that only Russian mathematicians can understand. This technique creates an unequal playing field. If ISPs should be requiredy by law to randomly forward packets without any inspection, shouldn’t Google also be required to randomly order search results so as not to favor the big sites? It would seem so, so I have to ask: if not, why not?
Should the Net Be Neutral?
May 24, 2006
The “net neutrality” debate has reached a fever pitch as Congress mulls legislation that would allow Internet service providers to charge Web sites for preferred delivery of digital content.
Net neutrality advocates, including Internet giants like Google and Amazon.com, are lobbying Congress to preserve the status quo in which all Web content is treated the same. Phone and cable providers such as AT&T and Comcast say they should be able to sell premium tiers of service since they are investing billions to build broadband networks.
Congress is considering several competing pieces of legislation. One bill1, sponsored by Rep. Joe Barton (R., Texas), embodies the phone company view, while another bill2 recently introduced by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R., Wisc.) supports net neutrality. Both the House and Senate will hold hearings this week.
The Wall Street Journal Online invited Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist and a net neutrality proponent, and former White House spokesman Mike McCurry, who heads a phone industry group, to debate the issue. Their exchange, carried out by email, is below.