Left, Right, and Tech Come Out Against Net Neutrality Vote

Lawsuits, legislation already planned to save net neutrality
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2017 3:20 PM CST
Lawsuits, Legislation Planned to Save Net Neutrality
After a meeting voting to end net neutrality, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai answers questions from reporters, Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

That didn't take long. Within minutes of the FCC voting 3-2 to kill Obama-era net neutrality rules, New York Attorney General Eric Schnedierman had announced plans to file a multi-state lawsuit over the decision, which he claims is illegal, Quartz reports. And he wasn't alone. Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson also announced plans to sue. “Allowing internet service providers to discriminate based on content undermines a free and open internet,” he said. Here's what else you need to know as the country reacts to Thursday's FCC vote:

  • USA Today reports Netflix and Twitter immediately called out the decision to end net neutrality, with both calling the FCC vote "misguided." Netflix says net neutrality "ushered in an unprecedented era of innovation, creativity, and civic engagement." Twitter calls ending it "a body blow to innovation and free expression." Both have promised to fight the decision in court.
  • "This is an egregious attack on our democracy. The end of net neutrality protections means that the internet will be for sale to the highest bidder," Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted. "We must do everything we can to stop this decision from taking effect."
  • CNET has the full text of the dissenting statements from the two Democratic FCC commissioners that voted against repealing net neutrality. "I dissent from the corrupt process that has brought us to this point. And I dissent from the contempt this agency has shown our citizens in pursuing this path today," Jessica Rosenworcel wrote. Mignon Clyburn describes a "new norm" at the FCC: "A majority that is ignoring the will of the people. A majority that will stand idly by while the people they serve lose."
  • Mediaite notes that a video released by FCC chair Ajit Pai to drum up support for net neutrality ahead of Thursday's vote featured a major proponent of the "pizzagate" conspiracy theory that tied Hillary Clinton to a pedophile ring.

  • "The Trump administration supports the FCC's effort to roll back burdensome regulations, but ... we certainly support a free and fair internet," press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says.
  • Pai claims net neutrality limits competition and innovation, but the opposite is actually true, Michael Socolow writes in an opinion piece for the Washington Post. He says history has shown that when the FCC has taken actions like it did Thursday, "It stifled innovation and reduced competition." An example: FM radio was ready by the 1930s but not in widespread use until the 1960s due to the FCC caving to lobbying from the Radio Corporation of America.
  • State attorneys general and tech giants aren't the only ones promising action in response to the vote. The Verge reports elected officials in California are taking action to protect net neutrality in theirs state, and federal lawmakers, including at least one Republican, are promising to introduce net neutrality legislation.
  • Finally, TechCrunch looks at what's next in the battle over net neutrality, which is not yet officially dead. Those next steps include potential legislative action, bureaucratic delays, and "lawsuits aplenty." Even if they could, internet service providers are unlikely to make any immediate changes while everyone is paying attention to their actions.
(More net neutrality stories.)

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