You are here

Testing Google's Net Neutrality Test -- A Tale of Hidden Bias & Warped Priorities

Close scrutiny exposes the hidden bias and warped priorities behind Google's new "Measurement Lab" effort to try and find blocking or degrading of Internet traffic by ISPs.

  • It is a sad state of affairs, when there was virtually no attempt by the online media to  consider whether there might be another side to this story... than Google's. 

The other side of the story: 

I.  Research bias:

Google's supposed "objective" research effort is riddled with undisclosed biases.

  • Test bias: The research does not even acknowledge the possibility that network congestion could exist.
    • Derek Slater of Google said: "When your connection seems flaky, how do you know what the problem is? Is it the network, the software, or is it your PC on the fritz?"
    • Why not even mention the most common reason a shared Internet connection might be flaky -- traffic congestion?  
  • Hypothesis bias: One finds what they look for. The purpose of this "research" is only to find Internet traffic interference, not look for network congestion that creates the need for network management.    
  • Sample bias: The "research" sample overwhelmingly will be made up of net neutrality activists, not an average objective consumers.
  • Assumption bias: The core assumption behind this "research" is that the Internet should be an end-to-end network of dumb pipes with no need for smart networks or reasonable network management. If the assumption is that FCC-permitted reasonable network management is not an acceptable point of view in the research effort, all research will of course classify reasonable network management as interference or bit discrimination.  
  • Conclusion bias: Given the press' characterization of this research as a "net neutrality test" indicates that some understand the pre-determined conclusion that will come out of this new "measurement lab."  
  • Characterization bias: The research defines traffic "delay" perjoratively as "interference," "blocking," "degrading" or "impairing."   

    II.  Warped Priorities:

    Placing a high priority on this type of research while ignoring research on other much more urgent and important problems that directly threaten mainstream Internet users -- shows how warped the priorities are of the net neutrality movement.

    Why are ISPs-- who are managing their networks to deliver quality of service -- more of a threat to the society than entities that: 

    • Abuse peoples' privacy?
    • Pollute the Internet with spam/viruses?
    • Steal identities?
    • Stalk children/people online?
    • Steal/pirate copyrighted content?
    • Defraud through phishing?
    • Defraud through click fraud?  
    • Promote terrorism and hate?
    • Abet in cybercrime?
    • Abet in cyber-terrorism? 

    Bottom line:

    Net neutrality remains a fringe Internet activist issue because it systematically misrepresents how the Internet actually operates, and it places a fringe priority of commons activists ahead of all the higher priority problems facing mainstream Internet users.