A group of net neutrality protestors gathered outside Google's California headquarters earlier this month to complain about the company's recently announced plans to alter access to a free and open internet.

Protesters holding 'Don't Be Evil' banners were chanting slogans such as "net neutrality is under attack, stand up and fight back" outside Google's HQ and aiming to deliver over 300,000 signatures protesting the latest moves.

In bed with the devil

"Google is about to cut a deal with Verizon that would end the Internet as we know it. It would allow Google and Verizon to pick which websites will get priority over others and kill Net Neutrality on the mobile Web," reads a 'call to arms' post on the 'Save The Internet' blog, put together by one group of protesters.

"Google's motto is supposed to be 'Don't Be Evil'. But this deal puts the company in bed with the devil."

Google and Verizon have suggested that wireless services could be treated differently to fixed-line services, which might give priority to some 'paid for' online traffic.

Protesters claims that this will lead to a "pay-to-play" online service.

"Companies like Google have benefited from a free and open internet and their plan will destroy that," James Rucker of ColorofChange.org told BBC News.

"They are talking about producing a fast lane, essentially a higher tier, for premium content that means if you want to play in the 21st Century internet you will have to pay.

"Whether you are a blogger, an entrepreneur, a journalist or someone trying to organise a community, the internet is precious," added Rucker.

"We all want to stand together to ensure it is protected for the future. We would expect Google to take leadership in making that happen, not be on the front line of undoing that."

Google responds to protestors

Google's Head of Public Policy, Nicklas Lundblad told reporters at the scene: "This is an important issue, a complex issue and it deserves to be discussed.

"Google is a fierce supporter of an open internet and we see that we have a couple of key enforceable protections in our proposal with Verizon and that is much better than no protections at all.

"This issue has been at a standstill for quite some time and we think this proposal is a way to advance that discussion."

Via BBC News