Published: Fri, February 23, 2018
Sci-tech | By Eric Barnett

Democratic state attorneys general sue to preserve net neutrality rules

Democratic state attorneys general sue to preserve net neutrality rules

Advocacy groups have already lined up numerous suits against the repeal that have yet to be heard.

The Federal Communications Commission is on the verge of officially publishing its order demolishing the rules that protected a free and open internet, and activists actually have a reason to look forward to it. Why?

At that point, the only thing standing between your internet service provider and a throttled internet dystopia is a pinky-swear promise from the ISPs not to do anything nasty, and that's not even worth the web page it's written on. Proponents of removing the rules contend that the move will unfetter competition and thus boost economic growth.

Whether you're trying to buy a necklace on Etsy, stream a series on Netflix, or upload a photo to Facebook, your internet service provider has to load all of those websites equally quickly.

The commission noted that it considers such a decision to be a return "to the light-touch regulatory scheme that enabled the Internet to develop and thrive for almost two decades". The White House Office of Management and Budget still must sign off on aspects of the reversal before it takes effect.

The coalition, lead by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, filed a lawsuit in January to block the repeal of the rules but agreed to withdraw it Friday and wait for the FCC's publication. "Now that the order to eliminate net neutrality has been published in the Federal Register, the period of time in which legislation to overturn the order can be introduced has begun, and we can begin the legislative process to overrule the FCC and preserve net neutrality".

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"Today marks another milestone in the Trump Administration's attack on the free and open internet", Doyle said. Once a regulation hits the Federal Register, those opposed to it have ten days to file lawsuits with the courts over it.

The Attorneys General will argue in their suit that, under the Administrative Procedure Act, the FCC can not make "arbitrary and capricious" changes to existing policies, such as net neutrality.

The broadband industry promised that the internet experience wouldn't change, but critics argued that the Obama-era rules were needed to prevent broadband providers like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T from having the power to censor content on the internet.

The rule was also unlawful because it includes "sweeping preemption of state and local laws", he said.

The FCC voted in December to overturn the net neutrality laws, put in place by President Obama.

The order's publication allows legal challenges to be filed against it. Governors of several states - New Jersey, Montana and NY - have already signed executive orders that effectively establish net neutrality principles at the state level.

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