Published by LawTechie - December 7, 2011 - LawTechie

Commentators are starting to blame the FFC’s failure to pass strong net neutrality regulations on Verizon’s latest decision to block Google Wallet on its upcoming Galaxy Nexus phone purportedly in favor of Isis, a competing application developed by Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. According to the Washington Post:

In blocking the Google Wallet software from running on the new Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Verizon Wireless said Tuesday that it was holding off on providing a wallet application until it can offer “the best security and user experience.” Verizon and rivals AT&T Inc. and T-Mobile USA are part of a consortium called ISIS that is planning its own payment system.

However, of note:

Verizon Wireless spokesman Jeffrey Nelson said the company doesn’t block applications, but Google Wallet is different because it accesses a security chip in the phone.

While Mediapost notes:

Advocacy groups Free Press and Public Knowledge today said that Verizon’s decision about Google Wallet demonstrates the failings of the net neutrality rules…

“Much of the disagreement makes little sense,” he added. “Consumers would not have the benefit of Google’s Wallet service pre-installed when buying a Galaxy Nexus phone, presumably because of Verizon’s security concerns. But consumers could download the application and use it once it is cleared by Verizon.”

The key here, contrary to the advocacy groups’ contentions, is that while Verizon is blocking the application from coming pre-installed on its phones (a contractual right that the provider has), phone owners can still download Google Wallet once they have the phone. Given the most recent fiasco of pre-included software causing security violations on smartphones, it is not entirely clear that this move by Verizon is not a reasonable way to protect itself from potential liability by telling users to go download their own potentially security-flawed software if they want that software.

LawTechie is a blog focusing on trends in tech and digital media. Areas covered include intellectual property, cyberlaw, venture capital, transactions and litigation as they relate to the emerging sectors. The blog is edited by the firm's partner Tim Bukher with contributions from the firm's experts in their respective areas of law.


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