21 US States Just Took New Action on Net Neutrality

Lawsuit from attorneys general claims FCC broke the law by voting to repeal net neutrality rules
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 17, 2018 10:22 AM CST
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai arrives for a meeting on net neutrality in Washington on Dec. 14, 2017.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

(Newser) – A lawsuit filed Tuesday claims the FCC broke federal law when it voted to repeal net neutrality rules in a move labeled "arbitrary, capricious and an abuse of discretion," Reuters reports. As promised, a lawsuit filed by 21 state attorneys general, all Democrats, argues the FCC will allow internet service providers "to put profits over consumers while controlling what we see, what we do, and what we say online," New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman says, per the New York Times. "Every consumer has a right to access online content without interference or manipulation by their internet service provider," adds California AG Xavier Becerra. Their comments were echoed by nonprofit Mozilla and the Open Technology Institute, which filed separate suits claiming the repeal would increase internet fees for entrepreneurs.

Public interest groups Free Press and Public Knowledge also filed motions Tuesday to protect Obama-era rules barring ISPs from throttling traffic, though legal challenges are technically prohibited until the FCC's new rules are entered into the federal registry; that's expected to happen in the near future. In the meantime, Senate Democrats aren't giving up hope of blocking the FCC action. All 49 Democrats, plus Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, have endorsed legislation to prevent the repeal of net neutrality rules, reports the Hill. That means Democrats need one more GOP vote to move the legislation to the House. It's unlikely to pass the House, and it would surely face President Trump's veto even if it did, Reuters notes. Still, Democrats hope their efforts will win favor among young voters ahead of the midterm elections, reports the AP.

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