Jonathan Kanter: Don’t Hand Our TVs Over to Google

And who works for the Chairman of the F.C.C.?

Counselor to the Chairman, Federal Communications Commission: Gigi Sohn, formerly CEO of Google Shill Lister Public Knowledge.

Special Assistant to Chairman, Federal Communications Commission: Sagar Doshi (Google Product Specialist)

THE cable set-top box — a clunky technology from a bygone era that costs many consumers around $10 a month — is headed for an overhaul as the Internet increasingly makes its way into Americans’ living rooms. But how the set-top box of the future will work — and who will benefit most from the changes to it — remains an open question.

Earlier this year, the Federal Communications Commissionresolved to “unlock the box,” requiring cable companies to give video streaming, programming and encryption data to companies like Google that make stand-alone alternatives to the traditional cable set-top box. Done right, this could unleash innovation and usher in a new era in which televisions become a direct extension of our online world. Unfortunately, the F.C.C.’s proposal threatens to replace one set of powerful gatekeepers with a new one: Google.

For years, Google has been jockeying to control the nation’s TVs. If, thanks to the F.C.C., Google succeeds, it will get access to the real prize: the data that flows through these boxes.

Read the post on the New York Times

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