Summary: New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that he has filed a multi-state lawsuit to stop the end of net neutrality.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced yesterday that he would fight the repeal of net neutrality that the FCC voted on Thursday. “Net neutrality” refers to open internet, meaning that service providers such as AT&T or Verizon cannot slow down or block websites or apps that users visit.
“We will be filing a claim to preserve protections for New Yorkers and all Americans. And we’ll be working aggressively to stop the FCC’s leadership from doing any further damage to the internet and to our economy,” Schneiderman said in a press release.
Schneiderman, a leading voice in the fight against the repeal, said that his office intended to “stop the FCC’s illegal rollback of net neutrality.” He cited his investigation into the FCC’s public comments process before the vote, and he stated that his probe found that there were millions of fake comments that corrupted the feedback given to the government agency.
Schneiderman spoke to TechCrunch and said that the lawsuit will be filed “in the coming days” and will involve multiple states, which he did not name. Schneiderman said that the FCC’s vote could result in internet service providers (ISPs) unfairly influencing consumers’ internet usage.
“Today’s new rule would enable ISPs to charge consumers more to access sites like Facebook and Twitter and give them the leverage to degrade the quality of video streaming until and unless somebody pays them more money. Even worse, today’s vote would enable ISPs to favor certain viewpoints over others,” Schneiderman said.
On Thursday, the FCC voted to end net neutrality protections put in place during President Barack Obama’s administration. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai wanted the internet to be controlled by the FTC and to not be regulated with rules that he called “heavy-handed.”
According to NBC News, “The FCC voted 3-2 on Thursday afternoon to roll back the 2015 Open Internet Order. The change classifies internet service as an information service, rather than a utility, and allows ISPs to treat internet traffic differently depending on its type, origin or destination. For instance, ISPs could create bundles of various internet services at different prices, or slow down video traffic from rival services.”
Before the votes, Schneidermann asked for a delay due to the discovery of the fake comments during the FCC feedback process. New York had written a letter joined by attorney generals from Virginia, Delaware, Hawaii, California, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Iowa, Illinois, Maryland, Maine, Mississippi, Oregon, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Washington, Vermont and the District of Columbia.
“The FCC’s vote to rip apart net neutrality is a blow to New York consumers, and to everyone who cares about a free and open internet,” Schneiderman said. “The FCC just gave Big Telecom an early Christmas present, by giving internet service providers yet another way to put corporate profits over consumers. Today’s rollback will give ISPs new ways to control what we see, what we do, and what we say online. That’s a threat to the free exchange of ideas that’s made the Internet a valuable asset in our democratic process.”