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Lawsuit Filed By 22 State Attorneys General Seeks To Block Net Neutrality Repeal (techcrunch.com) 355

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: A lawsuit filed today by the attorneys general of 22 states seeks to block the Federal Communications Commission's recent controversial vote to repeal Obama era Net Neutrality regulations. The filing is led by New York State Attorney General Schneiderman, who called rollback a potential "disaster for New York consumers and businesses, and for everyone who cares about a free and open internet." The letter, which was filed in the United States District Court of Appeals in Washington, is cosigned by AGs from California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Washington DC.

"An open internet -- and the free exchange of ideas it allows -- is critical to our democratic process," Schneiderman added in an accompanying statement. "The repeal of net neutrality would turn internet service providers into gatekeepers -- allowing them to put profits over consumers while controlling what we see, what we do, and what we say online."

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Lawsuit Filed By 22 State Attorneys General Seeks To Block Net Neutrality Repeal

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  • by Crashmarik ( 635988 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2018 @10:42PM (#55943627)

    When you can rule by fiat with just one.

    • There Is Another (Score:4, Insightful)

      by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2018 @10:53PM (#55943651)

      As Yoda would tell you - there is another.

      That Another is Congress. You know, the guys who are supposed to make laws?

      So which would you rather have - an un-elected body making up whatever rules they like (FCC), or rules thought out be representatives from across the country (legislative branch - congress/house).

      And they are making an effort to do so. It's WAY BETTER that rules that effect so many companies large and small, come from careful deliberation in the open rather than a handful of commissioners in secret.

      • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Wednesday January 17, 2018 @03:28AM (#55944377)

        You almost had it right and then you ruined it by saying they should look at companies. They should not. It is "For the people, by the people." Thinking of the companies brought us in this mess.

        • Re: There Is Another (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Wednesday January 17, 2018 @10:03AM (#55945649)

          You almost had it right and then you ruined it by saying they should look at companies. They should not. It is "For the people, by the people." Thinking of the companies brought us in this mess.

          This will cause lightning to descend from the skies to smite my heresy.

          While the profit motive works well for many things, it does not follow that it works for everything. There are some things that should not be run by profit. Health care should not be a profit center, Government should not be a profit center. Churches should not be a profit center.

          With all three being profit centers at this time - how's that workin' out for us?

      • by strikethree ( 811449 ) on Wednesday January 17, 2018 @09:05AM (#55945313) Journal

        As Yoda would tell you - there is another.

        That Another is Congress. You know, the guys who are supposed to make laws?

        You are correct, but there is absolutely no faith by anyone that Congress will do anything. They are quite happy to sit on their hands while receiving money from the monopoly ISPs.

        It is a perfect storm, all bought and paid for. The municipalities have granted monopoly status locally, Ajit Pai rolled back consumer protections, and Congress just has to do nothing and access to the Internet becomes the golden goose that keeps on giving... to a select few.

        The dystopian sci-fi future is being built right now. "Right to Read" https://www.gnu.org/philosophy... [gnu.org] indeed.

    • I am wondering - do the AG's have standing to file suit here?

      Can a bunch of AGs just get together and appeal to a judge to get the government to do something?

      (Assuming the topic was not legislated by congress. NN actually went against a legislative directive.)

      It just seems really weird that, in the future, random groups of AGs can file suit to force the federal government to do stuff.

      Can they really do that?

      • Re:Quick question (Score:5, Insightful)

        by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Wednesday January 17, 2018 @12:36AM (#55943963) Journal

        I am wondering - do the AG's have standing to file suit here?

        Yes. Google "federalism".

        Can a bunch of AGs just get together and appeal to a judge to get the government to do something?

        It doesn't have to be a "bunch" of AGs. One is enough. It just so happens that all the states where people wear shoes and have dental care joined in this particular lawsuit. And in this case, it's not to get the government to do something, but to stop the government from doing something.

  • by jonwil ( 467024 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2018 @10:54PM (#55943657)

    If the governments in these states really cared about having a free and open internet, they would repeal any state laws that restrict broadband competition or the roll out of new players (be it companies like Google, community groups, non-profit groups, municipalities or whoever else) and pass state laws that overrule any monopolies at the local level (be they monopolies put in place by local laws or monopolies granted via exclusive franchise deals).

    And they would tell AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, Charter Spectrum and the other last-century dinosaur ISPs to get stuffed when said ISPs complain about having to actually compete.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      If the listed states love their NN so much, open their telco networks.
      Bring in competition, new networks, new ways of connecting different ISP to their customers. Freedom of choice.
      The NN rules in the past saw a dramatic change to network competition all over the USA?
      • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Wednesday January 17, 2018 @12:46AM (#55943993) Journal

        The NN rules in the past saw a dramatic change to network competition all over the USA?

        Nope. Sorry. That's just not true. The Net Neutrality rules went into effect in 2015, and the consolidation of the ISP industry started over a decade before that.

        Net Neutrality doesn't have anything to do with how many ISPs enter the marketplace. It doesn't set up or encourage monopolies. It just says that if you're selling broadband, you can't prioritize traffic to help some other division owned by your parent company.

        I guess it's once again time for me to post the simplest, clearest definition of Net Neutrality ever posted, from the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

        https://www.eff.org/issues/net... [eff.org]

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        The problem is that new networks are extremely expensive to install.

    • because offering Internet costs about $9/month, all costs included. Comcast admitted as much in their SEC filing. This isn't surprising. It's mostly public infrastructure and what isn't was paid for by tax breaks and direct subsidies.

      Anyone that tries to compete at this point can't. Comcast would just drop its pants until the competitor was run out of business. That's exactly what happened to Google fiber.
      • by mysidia ( 191772 )

        Anyone that tries to compete at this point can't. Comcast would just drop its pants until the competitor was run out of business. That's exactly what happened to Google fiber.

        Google could compete if they were willing to --- by creating exclusive content available only to customers who choose Google fiber, and marketing the hell out of it. For example.... what if they created a new Youtube Live TV service of some sort, and a portfolio of other services that required you get fiber from them.

        How abo

        • Exclusive content on different ISPs is exactly the type of thing that NN proponents seek to avoid. Google would look a tad hypocritical if they did that. The idea is that the internet is the internet. There's no Comcast internet and AT&T internet and Google internet. What you're proposing is 1990s AOL/Genie/Prodigy.

      • because offering Internet costs about $9/month, all costs included. Comcast admitted as much in their SEC filing.

        You say this a lot. Putting aside for now the fact that this would be a very strange sort of statement to make in an SEC filing, as far as I can tell nobody else on the face of the planet appears to be talking about it, which is a bit weird if it's anywhere close to correct. Please provide a link to the specific SEC filing and the exact text you believe constitutes this "admission" so we can evaluate it for ourselves. Thanks.

      • because offering Internet costs about $9/month, all costs included. Comcast admitted as much in their SEC filing.

        Cite? I've spent some time looking through Comcast filings and haven't found that anywhere.

  • Almost every single one of these AGs is a Democrat. I still don't fully understand how NN became a partisan issue, but in so far as it has become one, it is pretty clear that there's a pretty massive difference between the Democrats and the Republicans at play here. When people claim that the parties are functionally identical, they are ignoring things like this.
    • I still don't fully understand how NN became a partisan issue, but in so far as it has become one, it is pretty clear that there's a pretty massive difference between the Democrats and the Republicans at play here.

      The Democrats want the government to dictate fine-grained details of how bits may and may not be fed down a pipe. The Republicans want to leave more of those decisions in the hands of private industry. IMO these positions are exceptionally consistent with the parties' overall worldviews.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 )

      Almost every single one of these AGs is a Democrat. I still don't fully understand how NN became a partisan issue, ...

      Republicans are not in favor of an informed electorate, just the people with money, who control the corporations with money, who control the flow and availability of information to that electorate. Everything the Republicans care about, or claim to care about, reduces to money and/or power and ensuring they have it and "others" don't. /cynical

      • the kids have a phrase that describes the republican view:

        "I got mine, fark you"

        it really is true, too. divide the classes even more. sure. what could happen? what are they gonna do?

        (...)

      • by ABEND ( 15913 )

        By "people with money" you must mean people:

        1. Jeff Bezos
        2. Bill Gates
        3. Warren Buffet
        4. Mark Zuckerberg ...

        World's Richest [wikipedia.org]

      • Well since you are obviously very well informed on the topic you can use your 200 iq to tell me why using Title 2 as the legal framework is the answer and why an ISP is not an information service provider in any legal definition that will not be successfully challenged in court.

        I mean besides evil greedy republicans wanting a dumb electorate and the legal costs for an ISP to navigate Title 2 are obviously minimal to a startup/small company.

    • When people claim that the parties are functionally identical, they are ignoring things like this.

      Those people are just making an easy excuse for their own ignorance and resultant inability to argue for/against a party on specific policy.

  • The fundamental issue with the Obama Admin regulations is that they were only regulations, and based on some reports the protections they tried to implement were better suited to bring enforced by the FTC, not the FCC.

    Enough alreafy, flip a coin to decide if the DVD or the HTC should enforce it, write an actual LAW implementing Net Neutrality, and be done with it.

    It's not hard to do, the language for the bill was in the ACC regulations, and the clear majority of the public agrees there should be something

    • Wow, not sure how FCC and FTC got auto corrected into DVD and HTC.

      And no, political appointees don't get to "fill-in" when Congress fails to act, nor does the President.

      That's why DAPA failed in the courts.

      That's why DACA was set to be cancelled by the courts, until Trump gave Congress 6 months to fix it.

      That's why Net Neutrality regulations put in effect by one FCC Chairman despite the law clearly indicating it was illegal to do so can be removed by a subsequent FCC Vommissioner.

  • I think the FCC is on pretty solid footing here, just like I did when they made NN happen. The FCC has the regulatory authority it needs to act here, so I don't see this lawsuit working. Hell, the lawsuits that made NN possible are likely to be used against this suit.
    • The FCC has the regulatory authority it needs to act here, so I don't see this lawsuit working.

      Changes to regulations have to (a) follow a process and (b) be supported by new sufficient evidence. This is done to prevent administrations from randomly changing regulations screwing with society. The lawsuits claim that both the process and the evidence were insufficient.

  • What jurisdiction do states have on guidelines for federal agencies? Now if they want to actually do something other than grandstand they're free to pass their own rules.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Actually, no. The new FCC regulations specifically preempt the states from imposing their own rules. As for jurisdiction, the question of whether this preemption is legal shall surely be litigated; in 2015 a court ruled the FCC couldn't preempt state laws on municipal networks. If the FCC new rules are upheld, the most naively obvious thread of consistency between the two decisions may be that whatever makes it easier for giant incumbent telco monopolies to wring more money out of their networks is what's l

  • Historically, the folks on the right of the isle (eg; Republicans) have ignored the best interest of their constituents, while their constituents applaud their actions and call Democrats "libtards" and worse. 22 congress critters oppose something isn't news. That 22 can spark a change would be news. I don't expect this to make a fart in the wind of difference.

  • by StevenMaurer ( 115071 ) on Wednesday January 17, 2018 @01:17AM (#55944081) Homepage
    • California - Xavier Becerra(D)
    • Connecticut - George Jepsen(D)
    • Delaware - Matthew Denn(D)
    • Hawaii-Doug Chin("Nonpartisan" - Endorsed almost entirely by Ds)
    • Illinois - Lisa Madigan(D)
    • Iowa - Tom Miller(D)
    • Kentucky - Andy Beshar(D)
    • Maine - Janet T. Mills(D)
    • Maryland - Brian Frosh(D)
    • Massachusetts - Maura Healey(D)
    • Minnesota - Lori Swanson(D)
    • Mississippi - Jim Hood(D)
    • New Mexico - Hector Balderas(D)
    • North Carolina - Josh Stein(D)
    • Oregon - Ellen Rosenblum(D)
    • Pennsylvania - Josh Shapiro(D)
    • Rhode Island - Peter Kilmartin(D)
    • Vermont - T. J. Donovan(D)
    • Virginia - Mark Herring(D)
    • Washington - Bob Ferguson(D)
    • Washington DC - Karl Racine(D)

    This being slashdot, there are plenty of commentators trying to make killing Net Neutrality the fault of both parties. But the evidence shows clearly that Republicans are overwhelmingly in favor of gutting it, and the Democrats are overwhelmingly in favor of preserving it.

    Simple, irrefutable, facts, people.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by strikethree ( 811449 )

      This being slashdot, there are plenty of commentators trying to make killing Net Neutrality the fault of both parties. But the evidence shows clearly that Republicans are overwhelmingly in favor of gutting it, and the Democrats are overwhelmingly in favor of preserving it.

      Is this supposed to be an argument FOR partisan voting? If so, shall I start listing all of the nasty things the Democrats (DMCA, Copyright Extension, etc) have done and are planning to do?

      Partisan voting is how we got here. It is worse than useless, even counterproductive, to point out party lines. Both parties are utterly suborned. The part of the historical cycle where heads get chopped off is arriving, and I think it will be particularly ugly this time around.

  • by Dausha ( 546002 ) on Wednesday January 17, 2018 @05:17AM (#55944605) Homepage

    Net Neutrality relied on and enforced a law from the 1930s that in the case of the Internet was repealed in the 1990s. We are only returned to status quo pro ante 2012.

    The lawsuit should fail for lack of standing. Further, the federal government has supremacy under our Constitution in this regard due to the interstate nature of the Internet, so states cannot pass their own equivalent.

    The only way to meaningfully change this is through Congress. All else is political smoke and mirrors.

  • I think they should call the attempted senate bill to block the repeal the:

    Net Neutrality Repeal Repeal Act

  • The US government does not have the unquestioned level of blind following they used to enjoy in the cold-war era, and only through repealing net neutrality as a means to control the hearts and minds of the people through communications manipulation, do they stand a chance (in hell) of getting a decent propaganda machine back up and running.

    The single biggest obstacle to the propaganda machine is an informed public. If the information is filtered, controlled and censored, then propaganda can start to get tra

  • “Elections have consequences, and at the end of the day, I won."

    And he also said

    "I've got a pen, and I've got a phone."

    A different wise man once said "all who will take up the sword, will die by the sword".

  • Please, help in the fight for what is right.

"There is nothing new under the sun, but there are lots of old things we don't know yet." -Ambrose Bierce

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