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Re: Policy Brief No. 28

This brief updates a prior civil rights brief on the net neutrality issue. For more information please see the original April 26, 2017 brief and November and December 2017 updates here.

Update: On May 10, 2018, the Federal Communications Commission announced that they would file a notice in the Federal Register announcing the effective date of the modifications made to the Restoring Internet Freedom Report and Order, known as the Net Neutrality regulations. The repeal of the net neutrality regulations that were voted on in 2017 will now become effective thirty days from the May 11, 2018 publication of the notice – June 11, 2018. There is still popular resistance to the repeal of the regulations with numerous efforts to stall and/or overturn the regulations. Ed Markey (D-MA) has stated that 86% of the electorate are in favor of keeping the net neutrality regulations that were repealed. A vote in the Senate to disapprove of the repeal and prevent it from being implemented is still pending with significant support but still has to pass the House of Representatives and be signed by President Trump which is unlikely. The most promising options appear to be proposals in individual states to try and enforce net neutrality within their state borders which will likely result in a battle between individual states and the FCC in the coming months. LEARN MORE, LEARN MORE

Policy Summary: On January 16, 2018, a lawsuit was filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia by attorney generals of twenty-one states and the District of Columbia. The petition will seek to prevent the enforcement of the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) “Restoring Internet Freedom” order that overturned Obama – era regulations. In the Senate, Democratic members announced that they had fifty votes of support and were one vote shy to vote to reject the FCC order. And finally, numerous states in the last two months have introduced bills in their state legislatures that would preserve net neutrality within their states regardless of the fate of the FCC’s “Restoring Internet Freedom” order. LEARN MORE, LEARN MORE, LEARN MORE

Analysis: After the FCC’s 3 – 2 vote to rollback Obama – era regulations in its “Restoring Internet Freedom” proposal, many were up in arms and sought ways to prevent implementation of the order. As of January 2018, three options had emerged. In December 2017, numerous states began to consider state laws that would preserve net neutrality regulations in their state. The proposal in California, which mirrors net neutrality bills in other states, would require businesses to adopt net neutrality practices if their business is dependent on California funding or infrastructure. However, this does not guarantee that the law would reach every resident of California. The second option comes from the Senate. Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) has proclaimed that he has a majority of votes to disapprove of the order in that chamber. But even if that resolution passes, there would still be opposition in the House of Representatives and would not likely be signed by President Trump. The final option is the petition filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on Tuesday. This option is the most substantial because it shows that there is widespread support (twenty – one states and the District of Columbia) to oppose Chairman Pai’s intent to do away with net neutrality. However, cases are not decided overnight. It may take months for the case to get a full hearing on the merits in addition to a few other legal obstacles that need to be addressed first. None of these options guarantee a total or an immediate success at the moment but it does demonstrate the widespread opposition to Chairman Pai’s efforts to do away with net neutrality. The fight continues. LEARN MORE, LEARN MORE

Take Action:

National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) – database of state efforts related to Internet service providers.

Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) – research center dedicated to online privacy and civil liberty issues.

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) – local community efforts at digital privacy and net neutrality.

This brief was compiled by Rod Maggay. If you have comments or want to add the name of your organization to this brief, please contact Rod@USResistnews.org.

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