It’s been a pretty interesting night on the net neutrality front, one that hit at least Defcon Two when I saw a Tweet from Om saying “Google turns its back on network neutrality.” To me that was a huge WTF, and reading the Wall Street Journal article about how “Google Wants Its Own Fast Track on the Web” just confused me more since the article seemed to be at serious odds with what I have reported Google’s net neutrality positions to be.
A few hours later? Despite the predictable read-and-react storm at the top of TechMeme, as it turns out all is well for net neutrality proponents, and maybe not so much so for the Journal’s crew of reporters on this piece. Google’s Rick Whitt not only called the Journal article “confused” in a blog post of his own, but explained that the so-called “proposal” is a pretty standard ISP practice of edge caching.
As befits his late Sunday-night blogging style, Om quickly reversed course and made a correction noting Whitt’s post. Below is the money quote from the Google blog post that is part of the reason why we think Whitt is the new leading influencer in the net neutrality debate as it heads into 2009:
Despite the hyperbolic tone and confused claims in Monday’s Journal story, I want to be perfectly clear about one thing: Google remains strongly committed to the principle of net neutrality, and we will continue to work with policymakers in the years ahead to keep the Internet free and open.
In a P.S. to his post, Whitt went on to say that he didn’t recall a quote the WSJ says he made about President-elect Barack Obama changing his net neutrality policies; for fans of social media, it will be interesting to see how many of the top TechMemers change their posts tonight to reflect Google’s agile blogging. So far, no response to Whitt’s blog post on the WSJ site, where the comments are only open to subscribers.
UPDATE: Looks like the WSJ story was also incorrect about Larry Lessig’s supposed softening of his stance on net neutrality, as Lessig explains himself. How many ways did this story go wrong?