To War, To War, Google’s Going to War

Google is getting probed by another government body and it’s not the courts looking into the Google Books Project.  Well, if they want to take over every aspect of our lives, they have to expect a little push-back.  This week, it’s the FCC that’s looking into the Google Voice service.  A few weeks ago, AT&T asked the FCC to investigate Google Voice, since the call-forwarding service, it claimed, was violating federal rules that stated that all calls had to come through phone companies. AT&T also complained that Google was blocking access to certain remote locations.  Google has admitted that it blocks access to some lines because they are sex lines, which have high access fees.  But this week, AT&T is ramping up the bile, attacking the company as a whole, and also claiming that some of the sex lines to which Google is blocking access are a church, an orchard, a convent of Benedictine nuns, and an eye doctor. And how, asks AT&T, can Google call itself a proponent of net neutrality when its size gives it “gatekeeper control” over the Internet itself?  The FCC has sent a letter of inquiry to Google, giving it until October 28 to file a formal response.  But the company lost no time in firing back a salvo. Rick Whit, the company’s telecom and media counsel said on its Public Policy blog, “AT&T apparently now wants web applications–from Skype to Google Voice–to be treated the same way as traditional phone services. Their approach is what a former FCC chairman has called ‘regulatory capitalism,’ the practice of using regulation to block or slow down innovation. And despite AT&T’s lobbying efforts, this issue has nothing to do with network neutrality or rural America. This is about outdated carrier compensation rules that are fundamentally broken and in need of repair by the FCC.” Reports from Tech Crunch and AllThingsD

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