Net Neutrality


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FCC Tells Court It Has No “legal Authority” To Impose Net Neutrality Rules

FCC tells court it has no “legal authority” to impose net neutrality rulesJon Brodkin / Ars Technica - 1 year ago
  • The Federal Communications Commission opened its defense of its net neutrality repeal yesterday, telling a court that it has no authority to keep the net neutrality rules in place.
  • Chairman Ajit Pai's FCC argued that broadband is not a "telecommunications service" as defined in federal law, and therefore it must be classified as an information service instead.
  • "Given these classification decisions, the Commission determined that the Communications Act does not endow it with legal authority to retain the former conduct rules," the FCC said in a summary of its defense filed yesterday in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Trump Administration Defends FCC’s Repeal Of Net Neutrality Rules

Reuters / VentureBeat - 1 year ago
  • The Trump administration defended the Federal Communications Commission repeal of landmark open internet rules known as net neutrality, urging a federal appeals court to reject a challenge.
  • In a 167-page court filing late on Thursday, the Justice Department and FCC urged the court to reject the suit filed by 22 states, the District of Columbia, Mozilla, Vimeo, public interest groups and local governments.
  • The Justice Department said the suit offers “no substantial reason to second-guess the commission’s decision to eliminate rules that the agency has determined are both unlawful and unwise.”
  • The FCC voted 3-2 in December along party lines to reverse rules adopted in 2015 that barred internet service providers from blocking or throttling traffic, or offering paid fast lanes, also known as paid prioritization.

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FCC Resorts To The Usual Malarkey Defending Itself Against Mozilla Lawsuit

FCC resorts to the usual malarkey defending itself against Mozilla lawsuitDevin Coldewey / TechCrunch - 1 year ago
  • Mozilla filed a lawsuit in August alleging the FCC had unlawfully overturned 2015’s net neutrality rules, by among other things “fundamentally mischaracteriz[ing] how internet access works.” The FCC has filed its official response, and as you might expect it has doubled down on those fundamental mischaracterizations.
  • The Mozilla suit, which you can read here or embedded at the bottom of this post, was sort of a cluster bomb of allegations striking at the FCC order on technical, legal, and procedural grounds.
  • There are at least a dozen separate allegations, but most fall under two general categories.
  • That the FCC wrongly classifies broadband as an “information service” rather than a “telecommunications service.” There’s a long story behind this that I documented in the Commission Impossible series.

The Entire Broadband Industry Just Sued California For Daring To Protect Net Neutrality

Karl Bode / Techdirt - 1 year ago
  • As expected, the broadband industry filed suit against the state of California today over the state's shiny new net neutrality law.
  • It if it wasn't so obnoxious with so many far-reaching impacts on consumer welfare, internet health, and competition--it could be deemed high art.
  • ISP lawyers argue California's state law violates the dormant commerce clause of the Constitution (they've previously, unsuccessfully, tried to argue that net neutrality also violates their First Amendment rights).
  • This statute was purposefully intended to countermand and undermine federal law by imposing on BIAS the very same regulations that the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) expressly repealed in its 2018 Restoring Internet Freedom Order (and by adopting even more restrictive regulations), despite the fact that both the FCC decision and the federal Communications Act of 1934, as amended (“Communications Act”), prohibit states from taking such action with respect to jurisdictionally interstate services like BIAS."

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Trump Admin Claims Calif. Net Neutrality Law Causes “irreparable Harm” To US

Trump admin claims Calif. net neutrality law causes “irreparable harm” to USJon Brodkin / Ars Technica - 1 year ago
  • California's net neutrality law is slated to take effect on January 1, 2019 unless the US government convinces a federal court to halt the law's implementation.
  • As we reported yesterday, the Department of Justice sued the state of California shortly after Governor Jerry Brown signed net neutrality legislation into law.
  • The government lawsuit filed in US District Court for the Eastern District of California seeks a preliminary injunction that would stop implementation of the law pending the outcome of the case.

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Trump Administration Sues California Over Tough Net Neutrality Law

Trump administration sues California over tough net neutrality lawJon Porter / The Verge - 1 year ago
  • The Justice Department has hit back against California’s attempt to restore net neutrality rules with a lawsuit that alleges state legislators are attempting to “subvert the Federal Government’s deregulatory approach.” The suit was announced jointly by representatives of the Justice Department and FCC Chairman Ajit Pai (via USA Today).
  • As the most populous US state and home to many of the world’s largest tech companies, California’s net neutrality rules, passed into law Sunday, hold significant sway.
  • California isn’t the only state that’s attempting to restore net neutrality.
  • “Once we establish California as a model of a state taking action, other states may follow, and then I think you may see some of corporate America say ‘OK, let’s have a federal law, because we don’t want to have to do different things in different states,’” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said at a press conference in San Francisco, Politico reported.

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California Gov. Signs Nation’s Strictest Net Neutrality Rules Into Law

California gov. signs nation’s strictest net neutrality rules into lawJon Brodkin / Ars Technica - 1 year ago
  • California Governor Jerry Brown today signed net neutrality legislation into law, setting up a legal showdown pitting his state against Internet service providers and the Federal Communications Commission.
  • The California net neutrality bill, previously approved by the state Assembly and Senate despite protests from AT&T and cable lobbyists, imposes rules similar to those previously enforced by the FCC.
  • "While the Trump administration does everything in its power to undermine our democracy, we in California will continue to do what’s right for our residents," California State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), author of the net neutrality bill, said today.

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Trump Administration Sues California Over Its Brand-new Net Neutrality Law

Trump administration sues California over its brand-new net neutrality lawCatherine Shu / TechCrunch - 1 year ago
  • The Department of Justice announced on Sunday that it has filed a lawsuit against California to block its new net neutrality law, just hours after it was signed by governor Jerry Brown.
  • In its announcement, the Justice Department stated that by signing California’s Senate Bill 822 into law, the state is “attempting to subvert the Federal Government’s deregulatory approach by imposing burdensome state regulations on the free Internet, which is unlawful and anti-consumer.”
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions said “under the Constitution, states do not regulate interstate commerce—the federal government does..."
  • This is the latest of several legal showdowns between the Trump administration and California, the largest blue state.

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California’s ‘gold Standard’ Net Neutrality Becomes Law

California’s ‘gold standard’ net neutrality becomes lawMarguerite Reardon / CNET - 1 year ago
  • The Justice Department didn't immediately respond to a request for comment but told the newspaper it expects to file its lawsuit Monday morning.
  • The legislation, which is opposed by the broadband industry, which considers it too restrictive, had been sitting on Brown's desk since early September after it passed the State Assembly.
  • California is just one of several states looking to enact its own rules governing an open internet, after the Federal Communications Commission, under Chairman Ajit Pai, rolled back the Obama-era net neutrality rules in June.

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai Will Reportedly Meet With Republican Lawmakers This Week

Google CEO Sundar Pichai will reportedly meet with Republican lawmakers this weekCatherine Shu / TechCrunch - 1 year ago
  • Google CEO Sundar Pichai will meet in private with Republican lawmakers on Friday to discuss issues including its work in China and alleged political bias, reports the Wall Street Journal.
  • The WSJ reports that Pichai also plans to appear at a House Judiciary Committee hearing scheduled to take place in November after the mid-term elections.
  • Pichai told the newspaper that “I look forward to meeting with members on both sides of the aisle, answering a wide range of questions, and explaining our approach.
  • A vocal opponent of net neutrality, McCarthy tweeted earlier this month that “an invite will be on its way” to Google, which he accused in the same tweet of making a “silent donation” to an unnamed left-wing group to stop Trump; working with Russia and China to censor the Internet even though it cancelled a U.S.

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The New York Times Sues The FCC To Investigate Russian Interference In Net Neutrality Decision

The New York Times sues the FCC to investigate Russian interference in Net Neutrality decisionJon Russell / TechCrunch - 1 year ago
  • The ongoing saga over the FCC’s handling of public comments to its net neutrality proposal continues after The New York Times sued the organization for withholding of information that it believes could prove there was Russian interference.
  • The Times has filed multiple Freedom of Information Act requests for data on the comments since July 2017, and now, after reducing the scope of its requests significantly was rejected, it is taking the FCC to court in a bid to get the information.
  • The FCC’s comment system keeled over in May 2017 over during the public feedback period as more than 22 million comments were posted.
  • The New York Times, meanwhile, has been looking into whether Russia was involved.

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NYT Sues FCC, Says It Hid Evidence Of Russia Meddling In Net Neutrality Repeal

NYT sues FCC, says it hid evidence of Russia meddling in net neutrality repealJon Brodkin / Ars Technica - 1 year ago
  • The New York Times has sued the Federal Communications Commission over the agency's refusal to release records that the Times believes might shed light on Russian interference in the net neutrality repeal proceeding.
  • The Times made a Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) request in June 2017 for FCC server logs related to the system for accepting public comments on FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's repeal of net neutrality rules.
  • This led to a months-long process in which the Times repeatedly narrowed its public records request in order to overcome the FCC's various objections.

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FCC Must Defend Net Neutrality Repeal In Court Against Dozens Of Litigants

FCC must defend net neutrality repeal in court against dozens of litigantsJon Brodkin / Ars Technica - 2 years ago
  • Twelve lawsuits filed against the Federal Communications Commission over its net neutrality repeal have been consolidated into one suit that will be heard at a federal appeals court in California.
  • The 12 lawsuits were filed by more than three dozen entities, including state attorneys general, consumer advocacy groups, and tech companies.
  • The lawsuits were all filed in either the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

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AT&T Loses Years-long Quest To Cripple FTC Authority Over Telecoms

AT&T loses years-long quest to cripple FTC authority over telecomsJon Brodkin / Ars Technica - 2 years ago
  • AT&T's years-long quest to avoid punishment for throttling unlimited data plans suffered a blow today when a court said that AT&T cannot escape the jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission.
  • The FTC sued AT&T in October 2014 in US District Court in Northern California, alleging that AT&T promised unlimited data to wireless customers and then throttled its speeds by as much as 90 percent.
  • Second, the decision affirms the FTC's authority to regulate broadband providers even when those providers offer separate common carrier services, such as landline or mobile phone service.
  • The Federal Communications Commission's repeal of net neutrality rules was premised partially on the idea that the FTC would pick up the regulatory slack on net neutrality.

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FTC Still Cop On Internet Beat, Says Federal Court

FTC still cop on internet beat, says federal courtMarguerite Reardon / CNET - 2 years ago
  • A federal appeals court has made clear that the Federal Trade Commission is the cop on the beat when it comes to policing internet service providers, an important decision in the fight to protect net neutrality.The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Northern California ruled Monday that the FTC could move forward with its case against AT&T, which it has accused of unfair and deceptive business practices for slowing down wireless service of customers who subscribed to a service advertised as unlimited.
  • The panel of judges for the 9th Circuit said this didn't matter and reaffirmed that the FTC has the authority to oversee these companies.
  • Consumer advocates applauded the decision.

FCC Boss Being Investigated By His Own Agency For Being Too Cozy With The Industry He Regulates

Karl Bode / Techdirt - 2 years ago
  • If you watched Pai's rushed repeal of net neutrality there really shouldn't be any question about where Pai's loyalties lie, and it certainly isn't with smaller companies, healthy competition, transparency, openness, innovation, or American consumers.
  • So for those paying attention, it's probably not too surprising to see news that the FCC's own Inspector General is investigating the agency boss for being a bit too cozy with the giant companies he's supposed to be holding accountable:
  • "Last April, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, led the charge for his agency to approve rules allowing television broadcasters to greatly increase the number of stations they own.

Verizon-Owned Tumblr Joins The Latest Effort To Restore Net Neutrality

Karl Bode / Techdirt - 2 years ago
  • Given Verizon's long-standing animosity to net neutrality (and openness and healthy competition in general), the company's acquisition of Tumblr created some understandable tension.
  • "(Undermining net neutrality) would congeal the Internet into something stagnant, something where new players wouldn’t be able to join the game without having the funds to do so.
  • Karp resigned from the company last year, and numerous reports have indicated that while net neutrality advocacy remains strong among employees, the company itself has unsurprisingly lowered the volume of its support for net neutrality under new ownership by Verizon.
  • Despite Verizon's ownership the company's net neutrality advocacy doesn't appear to be dead just yet.

New Jersey The Latest State To Protect Net Neutrality By Executive Order

Karl Bode / Techdirt - 2 years ago
  • The Trump FCC is currently in the process of trying to eliminate all meaningful oversight of some of the least competitive companies in America.
  • And while the Trump FCC is trying to ban states from protecting consumers in the wake of federal apathy (you know, states rights and all that), the individual states don't appear to be listening.
  • Other states, like Montana and New York have gotten more creative, signing executive orders that ban ISPs from winning state contracts if they violate net neutrality.

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New York’s Attorney General Is Investigating A Company That Sells Fake Followers On Social Media

New York’s attorney general is investigating a company that sells fake followers on social mediaAndrew Liptak / The Verge - 2 years ago
  • Following an extensive report published yesterday by The New York Times about the industry that provides fake followers to social media users, New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman announced that he has opened an investigation into the company featured in the article, Devumi.
  • The use of automated bots and accounts on sites such as Facebook and Twitter have been thrust into the public consciousness in recent months as major social media sites have confirmed that such tools were deployed during the 2016 Presidential election, and after bots were used for online public commenting periods, and other events.
  • On Twitter, Schneiderman says that “impersonation and deception are illegal under New York law,” and that “the growing prevalence of bots means that real voices are too often drowned out in our public conversation.” The Verge has reached out to Devumi for comment, and will update if we hear back.
  • The Times report profiles a social media Devumi, which purports to increase one’s social media presence on Twitter, YouTube, SoundCloud, Vimeo, Pintrest, or LinkedIn.

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The FCC Looks Back On A Disastrous Year Through Rose-tinted Glasses

The FCC looks back on a disastrous year through rose-tinted glassesDevin Coldewey / TechCrunch - 2 years ago
  • From the furore engulfing the FCC this last year you might think that the agency had accomplished little but appalling privacy advocates and dancing for its patrons, the telecoms.
  • FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has released a list of “accomplishments,” such as they are, which serves to remind us of the many thankless items taking up the bulk of the agency’s time (and requiring a great deal of hard work by its many employees), but also of the malign agenda that has unfolded continuously since the election.
  • With such a dire-sounding introduction, I should be fair and note that the Chairman’s stated priority of closing the broadband divide has been pursued with some vigor.
  • The first items listed in Pai’s report (indeed among the first passed) are the Mobility and Connect America funds, which will disburse hundreds of millions (eventually billions) with the specific goal of establishing high-speed wireless coverage and fixed broadband in underserved areas.