22 attorneys general have filed a lawsuit challenging the decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to repeal so-called ‘Net Neutrality’ rules, in what has become the first high-profile attempt to block the controversial plan. Led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the petition – which has been brought in front of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit – asks the court to find that the FCC’s plan contravenes federal law. Schneiderman’s statement announcing the suit, filed on behalf of 21 states and the District of Columbia argued: ‘An open internet – and the free exchange of ideas it allows – is critical to our democratic process. The repeal of Net Neutrality would turn ISPs into gatekeepers – allowing them to put profits over consumers while controlling what we see, what we do, and what we say online.’
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, on 14 December 2017 the FCC voted in favour of repealing Net Neutrality rules. The plan, which was pushed through via FCC chairman Ajit Pai’s ‘Restoring Internet Freedom Order’, was approved following a 3-2 vote – split along Republican-Democrat party lines. The divisive move has generated widespread protests from defenders of the Obama-era rules.
Net Neutrality is the principle that ISPs must treat all data on the internet equally, and not discriminate or charge differently depending on user, content, website or application.