IF YOU thought that the battle for US net neutrality was lost, think again.
22 states of the Union (that's nearly half, geography fans) have announced that they are mounting a lawsuit against the FCC over its decision to drop the Obama-era protections on the 'all bytes are equal' rules.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is leading the charge against Ajit Pai's decision which was carried by three votes to two in the Republican-controlled Commission.
Mr Pai cancelled an appearance at the recent CES conference in Las Vegas following death threats over the decision.
The suit has been filed in the US Court of Appeals, District of Columbia. Joining them, are California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.
All the states taking part are Democrat controlled.
"An open internet - and the free exchange of ideas it allows - is critical to our democratic process," said Attorney General Schneiderman.
"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. This would be a disaster for New York consumers and businesses, and for everyone who cares about a free and open internet. That's why I'm proud to lead this broad coalition of 22 Attorneys General in filing suit to stop the FCC's illegal rollback of net neutrality."
The announcement states that the FCC is in breach of the Administrative Procedure Act, claiming that its actions contravene the rule about not making "arbitrary and capricious" changes to existing policies. The suit says that the Commission is breaking from the long-standing policy without justification, disregarding and misinterpreting critical record evidence on industry practice and the harm it would cause to consumers and businesses.
Furthermore, it argues the retitling the Internet from a Title II telecommunications service to a Title I information service, is based on an ‘erroneous and unreasonable' interpretation of the Telecommunications Act, as well as preempting the rights of states and other localities of the Union to make their own decisions.
The retitling is the backbone of what makes net neutrality mandatory, as telecoms are considered to be a universal service, where Information Services are not.
Meanwhile, Fight For The Future and other campaigners for net neutrality have confirmed that they now have 49 senators on-side to vote against the bill, which would pass the FCC decision into law. That means it would only take one rebel Republican to overturn the process.
Of course, then the cable companies will probably sue the state, and the Ajit Pai will sue Reeses for not making big enough coffee mugs and the whole thing will drag on for years.
Stay strong America. We're with you. µ
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