22 State Attorneys General Join the Fight to Protect Net Neutrality – a Lawsuit Has Been Filed
22 attorneys general have joined the war against the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to do away with rules that are currently protecting the open internet.
Namely, the FCC voted to repeal the rules that are regulating businesses whose main line of work is connecting consumers to the internet. The agency claims that this is a great step toward “restoring internet freedom” – in fact, its press release on the matter is titled just that: “restoring internet freedom.”
In it, the FCC states that it is basically restoring the way things were until 2015 when the Barack Obama administration decided broadband providers need to be put under the microscope. The FCC has now decided to overturn that decision.
“In place of that heavy-handed framework, the FCC returned to the traditional light-touch framework that was in place until 2015. Moreover, the FCC also adopted robust transparency requirements that will empower consumers as well as facilitate effective government oversight of broadband providers’ conduct. In particular, the FCC’s action restored the jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission to act when broadband providers engage in anticompetitive, unfair, or deceptive acts or practices,” it says in the press release.
In other words, or layman’s terms, with the scrapping of these net neutrality regulations, the FCC basically wants to transfer all power into the hands of the broadband companies that can now basically control what you see and experience online. Further, these companies now have the freedom and right to block any websites or charge you much more for certain content.
The war started immediately. On the one side, the FCC is ferociously defending its decision with Ajit Pa, the chairman of the commission, claiming that with the rollback of the old regulations, the ultimate winners will be the customers and that with the decision, the FCC is supporting overall competition on the market.
On the other side, the ones that oppose this decision say that online content will be much more difficult to reach and start-up companies might have to cough up some dough if they want to reach consumers online.
The outrage towards the decision to make broadband providers practically “gatekeepers” of online content has been made quite clear all over the nation with lawsuits and petitions being filed to revoke the FCC vote.
Eric Schneiderman, New York Attorney General, is spearheading the battle against the FCC decision and leading the lawsuit. Aside from New York, the lawsuit is filed by the Attorneys General of New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.
“An open internet – and the free exchange of ideas it allows – is critical to our democratic process,” said Attorney General Schneiderman.
“The repeal of net neutrality would turn internet service providers into gatekeepers – allowing them to put profits over consumers while controlling what we see, what we do, and what we say online. This would be a disaster for New York consumers and businesses, and for everyone who cares about a free and open internet. That’s why I’m proud to lead this broad coalition of 22 Attorneys General in filing suit to stop the FCC’s illegal rollback of net neutrality.”