AT&T: Google is an evil empire that must be stopped

Following up on the Federal Communications Commission's continuing investigation into the legality and regulatory positioning of Google Voice, telecommunications giant AT&T addressed the FCC with a document entitled, "The Truth About Google Voice and the Open Internet Principles." (PDF available here, hosted by the Washington Post.) It reads quite like any other publication with a title like "The Truth About..." complete with all the shock and vitriol of a propaganda pamphlet.

AT&T claims that Google needs to stop blocking certain outbound Google Voice calls. Google claims that it blocks certain connections which are too expensive for a free service to connect to; and furthermore, as an Internet-based service, the issue is out of the FCC's jurisdiction anyway.

AT&T's problem with Google Voice is that it, as well as the other national telephone companies, cannot block these access numbers, and have to pay the high fees that Google Voice has been sidestepping.

This most recent letter to the FCC, penned by AT&T Senior Vice President Robert W. Quinn, Jr., contains some of the company's harshest criticism of Google to date. In it he, alleges that Google uses its market dominance to unfairly squash competitors and silence political opponents.

Specifically, AT&T alleges that Google "unilaterally moved its favored political messages to the head of the [Google search] queue, apparently at no cost to itself." that Google blocked Inner City Press from Google News for criticizing the United Nations Development Programme with which Google had partnered, and that Google "acted in its economic self-interest to block what it considered a free-riding competitor," referring to Infinite SMS from Inner Fence, which Google blocked for being a costly exploitation of its experimental SMS chat lab.

Quinn's thirteen page letter does more than call Google's practices into question, it simply blasts the company at every turn.

Highlights include:

"Google's double-standard for 'openness' -- where Google does what it wants, while others are subject to Commission regulations -- is plainly inconsistent with the goal of preserving a 'free and open' Internet ecosystem."

"If Google convinces the Commission that it operates completely outside both Titles I and II, the Commission would not only be unable to require Google to protect confidential information about its customers' calling records, e-mails, Web searches, and other online activities, but also powerless to prevent Google from using that confidential data for whatever purposes it chooses or selling that information to whomever it pleases."

"In preparing a complaint to challenge the Google/Yahoo arrangement, the Department [of Justice] reportedly concluded that Google had a 'monopoly' in [Internet search advertising and Internet search syndication] and the proposed arrangement 'would have furthered [Google's] monopoly."

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