California Mandates Net Neutrality, Trump Regime Sues
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
Trump’s FCC abolished Net Neutrality, essential digital democracy – letting users access online content without restrictions, limitations, or discrimination, a level playing field for everyone.
Unless Congress or the courts reverse what happened, ISP giants can now establish toll roads or premium lanes, charge extra for speed and free and easy access, control content, as well as stifle dissent and independent thought – a dismal prospect.
Trump’s FCC order prohibits states from imposing their own Net Neutrality rules, forbidding them from overriding federal regulations, FCC chairman Ajit Pai earlier saying:
“Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the internet.”
FreePress.net responded to Pai, saying you “turn(ed) over control of the internet on-ramps to a handful of companies so they can steal even more from their captured customers, and cut them off from the promise of an open and connected world.”
“You did all of this not for any legitimate public-policy reason; your actions will move us further from your own stated goals.”
“(Y)ou are cruelly punishing the public and enriching the already fabulously wealthy in service of a radical and immoral ideology.”
On September 30, California Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 822 legislation, enacting the strongest Net Neutrality protections in the nation.
It prohibits ISPs from imposing restrictions on free and open Internet access. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) called the law “a tremendous victory by real people” over ISP giants AT&T, Comcast and Verizon.
Thirty US state legislatures introduced similar laws, requiring ISPs to maintain Net Neutrality.
Four states passed legislation – California, Oregon, Vermont and Washington, others likely to follow.
Governors from New York, New Jersey, Montana, Vermont, Rhode Island and Hawaii issued executive orders – declaring their states won’t do business with ISPs violating Net Neutrality.
Following enactment of California’s law, Trump’s DOJ and FCC intervened, filing a lawsuit for a preliminary injunction to block its implementation.
According to EFF, “the FCC’s understanding of broadband companies is so factually flawed, and its failure to consider the implications for online speech and innovation is so absent, that the agency must be reversed.”
“Unless the House of Representatives joins the Senate to overturn the FCC this year, the outcome of these cases will likely determine the fate of net neutrality protections, competition policy, and privacy protections for the ISP industry.”
AG Jeff Sessions considers the Internet a function of “interstate commerce,” federally regulated, not by states, ignoring First Amendment rights.
The Internet is a utility, according to Net Neutrality advocates, requiring ISPs to treat content and access neutrally.
The issue is likely heading for eventual Supreme Court and/or congressional resolution, a dismal prospect with majority right-wing/pro-business judicial and political control – unwilling to support popular interests and fundamental rights over corporate ones.
Unrestricted digital democracy is a fundamental First Amendment issue – Net Neutrality the last frontier of speech and media freedom essential to preserve.
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