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posted by martyb on Thursday October 03 2019, @10:07AM   Printer-friendly
from the just-give-me-a-big,-fast,-dumb-pipe dept.

States can set own net neutrality rules, court says

A federal appeals court on Tuesday issued a mixed ruling on the Federal Communications Commission repeal of Obama-era net neutrality rules. The court upheld the FCC's repeal of the rules, but struck down a key provision that blocked states from passing their own net neutrality protections.

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals also remanded another piece of the order back to the FCC and told the agency to take into consideration other issues, like the effect that the repeal of protections will have on public safety. (See below for the full text of the court's decision in the case, Mozilla v. Federal Communications Commission.)

The Republican-led FCC voted in 2017 to roll back the popular rules, which prohibited broadband companies from blocking or slowing access to the internet in a 3-2 vote along party lines. The rules also barred internet providers from charging companies to deliver their content faster.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai applauded the decision as not only a win for the agency but also a "victory for consumers, broadband deployment, and the free and open Internet." He said the court not only upheld its repeal of the rules, but it also upheld the agency's so-called "transparency rule," which requires broadband providers to disclose when they're making any changes to their service.

[...] The case pitted Mozilla and several other internet companies, such as Etsy and Reddit, as well as 22 state attorneys general, against the Republican-led FCC. They argued that the FCC hadn't provided sufficient reason for repealing the rules.

The decision is the latest chapter in the decade-long fight to protect the internet from excessive control by big broadband companies and how the internet should be regulated. The court largely agreed with the Republican-led FCC that the agency had the discretion to decide how to classify broadband. The Obama-era rules had reclassified broadband as a so-called common carrier service, which treated broadband like a public utility, subject to many of the same regulations as traditional phone service. The 2017 repeal reinstated the less regulated classification of broadband, providing what Chairman Pai and other Republicans have called a "light touch" regulatory approach.

"Regulation of broadband internet has been the subject of protracted litigation, with broadband providers subjected to and then released from common-carrier regulation over the previous decade," the DC Circuit said in its opinion. "We decline to yet again flick the on-off switch of common-carrier regulation under these circumstances."

The regulations didn't officially come off the books until June of last year. The backlash among supporters was immediate, with Democrats in Congress promising to bring the rules back and a slew of states, like California and New York, proposing their own laws to protect consumers.

On this point, the court sided with net neutrality supporters ruling the FCC had overstepped its authority when it barred states from passing their own net neutrality protections. That piece of the decision is seen as the silver-lining in the decision for net neutrality supporters.

Following the ruling, Mozilla said it's still considering its next steps. But the company, best known for its Firefox browser, has vowed to continue fighting for net neutrality protections. It's encouraged by the court's decision to throw-out the FCC's blanket preemption of state net neutrality laws. This will "free states to enact net neutrality rules to protect consumers," Amy Keating, chief legal officer for Mozilla, said in a statement.


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 03 2019, @04:03PM (7 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 03 2019, @04:03PM (#902326)

    "Well, right now we have one party being led"

    And another party shilling for the guy by being total dicks about everything that doesn't matter, and refusing to talk about anything that does. The guy dealing three card monty today may be the loud mouthed shill tomorrow, or the current shill may still be the shill. The fact that they change places periodically doesn't mean they aren't in on the same scam.

    97% of the public votes for the RNC or the DNC. There are a lot of ways to read that. I read it as: 97% of the public can't spot a shill when they see one.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Thexalon on Thursday October 03 2019, @04:51PM (1 child)

    by Thexalon (636) on Thursday October 03 2019, @04:51PM (#902348)

    Saying stupid stuff on TV isn't a crime or constitutional issues. I'm no Biden supporter, either, but there's a world of difference between shilling and breaking the law and the constitution repeatedly. The president has made it abundantly clear that he'd rather be a king than a president (complete with putting his completely unqualified children in important positions), and is determined to act like one until somebody makes him stop.

    --
    The inverse of "I told you so" is "Nobody could have predicted"
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 04 2019, @01:39AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 04 2019, @01:39AM (#902508)

      "difference between shilling and breaking the law and the constitution repeatedly."

      The DNC isn't shilling the DNC, they are shilling the RNC. You can see this when they craft messages that push any non-believers specifically into the enemy camp. Just look at how their message is crafted. The DNC only recognizes competing positions if they are held by the RNC, in vice-versa. If they were different parties, they wouldn't kick the ball ONLY to each other. periodically the ball would go out of bounds.

      97% of the voting public votes DNC or RNC. The other 3% recognizes that they are the same party.

  • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 03 2019, @05:49PM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 03 2019, @05:49PM (#902372)

    ...and refusing to talk about anything that does.

    Except that's not what's happening. Not even close.
    Many bills passed by the House and not taken up by the Senate, including net neutrality, prescription drug prices, etc.:
    https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/449780-a-list-of-the-democratic-legislative-priorities-being-held-up-in-the-senate [thehill.com]
    https://www.newsweek.com/republicans-democrats-house-senate-100-bills-1433843 [newsweek.com]
    https://www.vox.com/2019/5/24/18637163/trump-pelosi-democrats-bills-congress [vox.com]

    In fact, it's the R's who are refusing to talk about anything important. Which makes me sad. They should put the nation above partisan wrangling. But they do not. And that's nothing new. More's the pity.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 04 2019, @01:44AM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 04 2019, @01:44AM (#902512)

      "Except that's not what's happening"

      I'm rubber your glue. Blah Blah Blah.

      You assume that disagreeing with your guy means I support their guy. Considering that assumption would tell you something if you had the remotest ability to introspect.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 04 2019, @04:22AM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 04 2019, @04:22AM (#902547)

        You assume that disagreeing with your guy means I support their guy. Considering that assumption would tell you something if you had the remotest ability to introspect.

        That's not my assumption *at all*. You (at least I'm assuming it was you) stated that the D's in Congress weren't doing anything other than focusing on the various inquiries into the Executive Branch.

        That's not true. The House has passed more than 100 bills that the Senate hasn't even considered.

        Many of those bills are actually quite useful and important. You'd know that if you followed the links I included. One of them is even a link from The Hill, which pretty much always supports the R's.

        This is an issue because important legislative work isn't getting done. When the Senate doesn't even *consider* bills passed by the House, that's not only not doing their job, it betrays all the American people.

        Just in case you're confused about this, *all* legislation must originate in the House of Representatives. Even if a Senator wants to propose a bill, he/she would either need to get some member of the House to introduce it, or amend a bill already approved by the House.

        Since the Senate isn't even considering all these bills, they deprive their constituents (R *and* D) of the opportunity for their representative to debate, discuss and amend legislation to make it *better* for them. That hurts *everyone*.

        That's wrong no matter *who* might do that. It's not about "my team" or "your team", it's about representing your constituents -- you know, you and me and everyone else in this country.

        It's the Rs in the form of Mitch McConnell that's preventing the Senate from even *considering* these bills that's holding things up. He's wrong and he should do his job or his constituents should find someone who will.

        If it were Chuck Schumer that was blocking all these bills, I'd be calling for his head too.

        Just curious, would you prefer this country to go to shit as long as "your" team wins?

        I am not willing to do so. Because my team is all Americans. We're in this together and we can succeed -- but only if we work together.

        Yes, there are disagreements on both sides, and those need to be debated, discussed and workable compromises arrived at.

        But there are many, many other things that we can *all* agree upon. By halting *any* movement, we kill any chance to do what's right for all Americans. That's the issue that I have. These folks were elected to do the work of this nation. One group is stopping that from happening, and for purely partisan reasons.

        That's wrong and a betrayal of each and every one of us. And that's true no matter who does so.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 04 2019, @12:48PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 04 2019, @12:48PM (#902583)

          "would you prefer this country to go to shit as long as "your" team wins?"

          What gave you the impression that I had a team? Again, you are assuming that I am like you: spun out and totally sure I will find the queen as it is being shuffled around the top of a cardboard box. If you consider the possibility that you are spun out because they want you to be spun out, then you have an opportunity to start asking questions that matter.

          Driving people nuts is how they stay in control.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 04 2019, @03:19PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 04 2019, @03:19PM (#902641)

            No Fusty, you're projecting your ridiculous view of others onto me, not the other way around.