23 Attorneys General Urge Appeals Court To Restore Net Neutrality

from the round-and-round-we-go dept

As expected, Mozilla, 22 State attorneys general, INCOMPAS, and numerous consumer groups this week asked a U.S. appeals court to reinstate FCC net neutrality rules. The state AGs, led by New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood, filed a lawsuit back in January attempting to overturn the repeal, arguing that the decision will ultimately be a “disaster for New York consumers and businesses.” Mozilla and a few other companies also filed suit, as well as consumer groups including Free Press and Public Knowledge.

The AG’s statement— as well as the brief (pdf) filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit late Monday night–not only urges the court to restore the FCC’s 2015 net neutrality rules, but asks the court to scuttle ISP and FCC efforts to block states from protecting consumers:

“The government petitioners? brief focuses on two critical issues: first, that the FCC?s order is arbitrary and capricious because it puts consumers at risk of abusive practices by broadband providers, jeopardizes public safety, and more; and second, that the FCC?s order unlawfully purports to preempt state and local regulation of broadband service.”

As we’ve noted previously, both Comcast and Verizon successfully lobbied the FCC to include language in its “Restoring Internet Freedom” order that attempts to “pre-empt” (read: neuter) state authority over broadband ISPs. ISPs like Charter (Spectrum) have already tried to use this language to wiggle out of state lawsuits over terrible service and false advertising, though the courts so far haven’t thought much of the effort. ISPs have threatened to sue states that try to pass state level net neutrality laws in response to federal apathy, but those suits have yet to materialize.

While Facebook and Google have been largely AWOL from the net neutrality fight this go round, INCOMPAS also jumped into the mix this week, issuing its own filing and statement getting to the crux of the issue, a lack of competition in broadband:

“At its core, net neutrality is a competition issue. The FCC?s own order acknowledged that nearly 50 percent of consumers are living in a broadband monopoly. Yet, in the face of a brazenly uncompetitive marketplace, the FCC abandoned two decades of bipartisan consensus that ISPs should not block, throttle, implement paid prioritization, or otherwise harm online content by engaging in anticompetitive behavior.

“The FCC also refused to consider extremely relevant findings from previous merger investigations involving ISPs that control access to almost 65 percent of consumers, which found that despite their public statements to the contrary, ISPs have the means and motive to interfere with online content they perceive as a threat.”

US telecom, a lobbying organization primarily funded and managed by AT&T, issued a statement responding to the filings that claimed the repeal of net neutrality was no big deal because the internet has yet to implode:

“As this case winds its way through federal court, it is worth noting what has not happened since the FCC?s order: the internet as we know it is still thriving, growing, open and continues to spin on its axis. The predictions made by some that ISPs would engage in throttling, blocking, and anti-competitive prioritization, have not happened.”

Of course ISPs like AT&T have only behaved so far because they know this lawsuit could easily go badly, and they’re not keen on adding any fuel to the fire before the court fight heats up (oral arguments should arrive sometime in the fall). All of today’s filers are eager to show that the FCC not only violated agency procedures, but violated laws like the Administrative Procedures Act by basing such a stark reversal of policy on little more than fluff and nonsense.

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Companies: incompas, mozilla

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Comments on “23 Attorneys General Urge Appeals Court To Restore Net Neutrality”

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Thad (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Bandwidth caps aren’t technically a net neutrality issue. (If all data is throttled equally, then it’s neutral.)

However, the net neutrality rules that Pai repealed did allow customers to file complaints over any unreasonable prices and practices, so, while not technically a net neutrality issue, this was covered under the net neutrality rules.

Most Wanted Poster says:

Privately-owned can be run ANY WAY PLEASE! - Or does that only

apply to the corporations that YOU favor, and which are explicitly resolved to control YOUR free speech?

Clearly this is a Free Speech Right: corporations can’t be forced to carry content (though within common law) that they don’t like, for ANY or NO reason! Right? RIGHT? I mean, that was SO just yesterday! … Hmm. Bet I’m wrong again on Techdirt, yet consistent with the real world.

No, kids. You can’t make those two cases fit into one system no matter how hard try.

Either corporations are subject to reasonable regulation and control for The Public’s purposes, OR — as Masnick wishes when he wishes it — corporations have absolute and arbitrary control, privately-owned and all.

Now, that ENDS ALL DEBATE! Another item that Masnick wished for in the just prior piece.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Privately-owned can be run ANY WAY PLEASE! - Or does that only

corporations can’t be forced to carry content

Please explain how an ISP is carrying any kind of content on the internet. Hot tip, they aren’t. All ISPs do is provide you gateway access to the internet, they don’t host a damn thing.

This is fundamentally different than a social media site providing just one platform ON the internet (not to be confused with the internet at large) for people to post and upload content to. Said social media site DOES carry content because it actually saves it on its servers. Aside from caching servers, ISPs do no such thing.

Bet I’m wrong again

Yep, in pretty much every regard, including TD and the real world.


No, it doesn’t, because as I’ve stated, you clearly don’t understand the first thing about what’s being discussed here.

No, kids. You can’t make those two cases fit into one system no matter how hard try.

Watch me.

While you can make the argument that people don’t need XYZ social media site on the internet, people absolutely NEED access to the internet to work, study, submit homework, do research, manage finances and medical needs, apply for jobs, etc…the list goes on and on. While there isn’t one specific thing that everyone needs access to, everyone needs access to the internet so that they can get access to the things they need ON the internet.

In this sense internet access (not the internet itself, because that’s something entirely different) should be declared and regulated as a public utility. It meets all the qualifications, you can even consider it a natural monopoly.

Huh, look at that, the two cases fit neatly into one system and I did it in less than five minutes.

Please take a moment to educate yourself on basic computer and internet technology. You’ll appear less of a fool if you do.

Anonymous Coward says:

if this and any other law suit gets tossed, as i am not going to be surprised if they do, given the way that the courts and the representatives for some reason(s) always happen to come down on the side of the FCC and the ISPs, that is when shit will hit fan! the ISPs wont be able to start implementing the charges fast enough that they have been after since Wheeler surprised everyone by doing what was right rather than what the companies wanted! the extra fees are already in place for even worse services, less bandwidth, slower speeds, cutbacks to streaming services other their own (anti-competitive prioritization) and the typical but worsening ‘customer (almost) service! these lawsuits need to succeed or else the dismal, pathetic USA broadband service is going to diminish still further. it is already one of if not the worst in what are considered to be major democratic countries and all because those in Congress are more concerned with lining their own pockets and keeping monies rolling in that will maintain their positions in office, rather than sorting this shit out and doing their jobs, representing the people!!
throttling, blocking, and anti-competitive prioritization

Ryunosuke (profile) says:

It gets worse

A LOT WORSE. Remember when Pai said that the internet isn’t broken and that ISPs weren’t throttling or blocking traffic… TO CONGRESS. LAST WEEK?

It turns out THAT was a lie too.
TLDR: Verizon throttled Santa Clara County Fire Dept’s Internet until they "Upgraded" (read: Pay more) for unlimited internet WHILE BATTLING DEADLY WILDFIRES.

Now this started July 29th of this year. Weeks before Pai’s congressional report.

John Smith says:

Re: Re: It gets worse

I’ve4 chosen to not reveal what I know about the FCC’s hold over Trump except to say that it is very, very real.

I’ll leave it to others to follow the bread crumbs and find the truth, which is much, much worse than even the subject to which I’m responding.

I’d love to talk more but I’ve been binge-watching Silk Stalkings. I’m up to the part where the two leads leave the show.

John Smith says:

The FCC has more control over Trump than Russia ever cou. Start by connecting dots to their commissioners and the resuls will suprrise you. I could say more but I’ve already said enough. Trump will never stand up to the FCC as a result. They literally OWN him, lock, stock, and barrel. The connections aren’t obvious but they’ve been uncovered.

Funny how this site often has posters who say “hands off private companies,” yet want to tell ISPs how to run their business. Interesting dichotomy.

Sayonara Felicia-San (profile) says:

Ajit Pai lied about being hacked, right?

Well, this is insane. So the FCC LIED about being hacked and that was the reason that Ajit Pai used to ignore overwhelming criticism, then why are we still here yacking?

Ajit Pai knew DDoS claim was false in January, says he couldn’t tell Congress | Ars Technica https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/08/ajit-pai-knew-ddos-claim-was-false-in-january-says-he-couldnt-tell-congress/

Shouldn’t net neutrality be re-instated immediately and the process started over from the beginning?

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