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Evil Inequality In the Works for the Web

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Google's corporate motto, it's been noted, is “Don't Be Evil.” They're going to be sorry they ever said it. By siding with Verizon vs. those fighting for a free and equal Internet -- that may be exactly what they're doing.

The Internet and telecom giants Verizon and Google have reportedly reached an agreement that sells out net neutrality. They make it sound like a victory for fairness -- they'll stand by equal access for everyone on the wired web. But the arrangement, not yet public and arrived at in closed door meetings between the behemoths, would enable Verizon to impose tiers and charge for quicker access over wireless devices.That's the future they're talking about.

The deal comes just as the Federal Communications Commission and major telecom giants are crafting new regulations that could last a generation. As we've been rehashing the Constitution lately, maybe it bears reminding that we learned years ago that separate's not equal.

Offering freedom but not for wireless users is tantamount to telling independent producers we are free to communicate and do business -- but only by tin-can or pony express, while the big boys rule the mobile superhighway.

We at GRITtv exist as noncommercial media thanks to your donations, and maybe we're being selfish by calling for neutrality. Costs on bandwidth would make getting our show to you online much, much more expensive, and so would the ads.

Yet if it would make things harder for us, how much harder would it be for that independent producer—or even citizen journalist—who happened to be at the right place at the right time with a camera. It's not just browsing that's endangered by a class system of communications. It's our ability to challenge that class system, for example, and hold governments and corporations--like Google and Verizon—accountable. Maybe it's not just profits they're after, after all.

The F Word is a regular commentary by Laura Flanders, the host of GRITtv which broadcasts weekdays on satellite TV (Dish Network Ch. 9415 Free Speech TV) on cable, and online at GRITtv.org and TheNation.com. Support us by signing up for our podcast, and follow GRITtv or GRITlaura on Twitter.com.