Net Neutrality

What is net neutrality?

Here is a quote from Wikipedia (Net neutrality)

Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers and governments regulating the Internet should treat all data on the Internet the same, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode of communication.[1] The term was coined by Columbia University media law professor Tim Wu in 2003, as an extension of the longstanding concept of a common carrier, which was used to describe the role of telephone systems.[2][3][4][5]

The loss of net neutrality would allow companies like Comcast and Verizon to charge higher rates for faster service, so websites that do not pay those fees would load more slowly. This means that internet service providers would be in a position to control who is heard over the internet.

What’s happening now

Late last year, the FCC voted to roll back the Title II net neutrality rules. This means that internet providers do not have allow the same access for all.

Congress can reverse this decision, using the Congressional Review Act (CRA), by passing a “Resolution of Disapproval” of the FCC’s actions.  It can also be overturned by federal courts, in lawsuits brought by advocacy groups.

The Resolution of Disapproval must pass both houses of Congress. It has already passed in the Senate, and now goes to the House. Even if all Democratic House members voted in favor, an additional 22 Republicans would be needed for passage. While many regard this as unlikely, advocacy groups are still hopeful.

Some other organizations in the forefront of supporting net neutrality are:

Popular Resistance

Mozilla.org.

Freepress.net

Click on the Freepress Blog tab for some of the latest developments.

On January 16, 2018, Freepress filed suit against the FCC to win back net Neutrality.

The FCC may indeed be vulnerable on legal grounds (see Tim Wu’s opinion article below.)

 

Tim Wu, of Columbia University law school, first coined the term “net neutrality.” Here is his recent opinion article in the New York Times, which looks ahead to action in the courts:

Courts Will Have to Save Net Neutrality

Susan Crawford is a professor of law at Harvard. Here is her recent opinion article in Wired magazine, which examines Chairman Pai’s strategy:

Ajit Pai’s Shell Game