‘Occupy Google’ pitches tent for net neutrality

About 20 demonstrators showed up this afternoon outside of Google Inc. headquarters in Mountain View for a peaceful rally to support unrestricted access to the Internet, a police spokesman said.

Google company officials are aware of the protesters and allowed the group to be there, Mountain View police Sgt. Saul Jaeger said in an e-mail:

“They are not disrupting business at all. … No arrests (have been made) and none (are) anticipated.”

The “Occupy Google” protesters set up a banner, tent and Internet cafe in front of the search engine’s main office at 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway not to protest against Google, but to “urge Google to support net neutrality,” group spokesman Vaigham Kabir said:

“We want to see a free and open Internet. … There is a coordinated attack on the Internet being a free and open space.”

As with other “Occupy”-style protests in various parts of the Bay Area, this one outside Google might be a prolonged one, Kabir said:

“Our plans are to stay here until we’re getting traction for an open Internet.”

The group is worried about a proposal by Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler to create a “two-tier” system permitting service providers to offer fast connection speeds for fee-payers and a second, slower speed for the rest of the public.

The FCC will be taking comments about the proposal until July 15.

Occupy Google organizers are calling for a day of action and online protest on July 10, urging website operators to “blackout” their sites for the day and instead post links to online petitions and the FCC’s comments page for people to express support for net neutrality.

— Jeff Burbank, Bay City News

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