Economy

U.S. justice department sues California to over new net neutrality law

U.S. justice department sues California to over new net neutrality law”

Ahead of Brown signing the bill, Trump-appointed Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Ajit Pai slammed the California's net-neutrality effort as "a radical, anti-consumer internet regulation" that in his view is illegal.

The battle over net neutrality rages on as the Department of Justice goes after the state of California for signing a bill on the issue.

The Trump-era FCC repealed net neutrality earlier this year and it has become a political issue.

The United States Telecom Association said in a statement it supports strong net neutrality protections but thinks the matter should be left to the federal government.

But supporters of the California law say the rule change contains a fatal flaw that undermines the Justice Department's federalism case: The FCC's new rules have the agency explicitly giving up its own authority to regulate Internet providers.

According to the LA Times, California state AG Xavier Bacerra said the state is prepared to defend its new law, and that it would need additional funding and staff to implement the regulations.

California's net neutrality law is set to take effect on January 1, but the Justice Department late Sunday in a court filing sought a preliminary injunction to block it from taking effect, warning that internet companies "cannot realistically comply with one set of standards in this area for California and another for the rest of the nation - especially when internet communications frequently cross multiple jurisdictions". "The law prohibits many free-data plans, which allow consumers to stream video, music, and the like exempt from any data limits".

The bill's sponsor, state Sen. California joins OR and Washington as states that have successfully passed a net neutrality bill.

That action led to a backlash in a number of states, which have sought to pass their own rules of the road for internet service.

"Courts have consistently held that when the federal government lacks authority to regulate, it can not preempt states from regulating", said Andrew Schwartzman, a lecturer in public interest law at Georgetown University. Like the 2015 Open Internet Order that was repealed in 2017, the bill also bans ISPs from charging websites to load for the ISPs subscribers or using the point where data enters the ISPs network to evade net neutrality.

"This is a big day for net neutrality", said Robert Cruickshank, campaign director at the advocacy group Demand Progress.

California's measure is also likely to face a legal challenge from internet companies. The move prompted an immediate lawsuit by the Trump administration. The US Department of Justice aims to find out-it has already hit California with a lawsuit in hopes of blocking the rules, and effectively raining on the state's parade.

Other organizations opposed California taking net neutrality into its own hands, including Jonathan Spalter, president and CEO of the U.S. Telecom Association.



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