Open Internet Advocates Victorious After Supreme Court Decision – Your Black World

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By: Victor Ochieng

In 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled in favor of the 2015 net neutrality rules that was passed by the Obama administration Federal Communications Commission. But even after the Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld the ruling, several internet providers decided to fight against the ruling taking the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. But things did not turn out as they had expected, because the Supreme Court also declined their appeal.

The Supreme Court decision means that the ruling by the Circuit Court remains active – the ruling stated that the FCC’s actions were legal.

The Circuit Court ruling is now very significant following FCC’s 2017 repeal of those very same rules. Now the ruling is an important basis for various legal challenges against the FCC’s repeal.

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A fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology, Law and Policy, and former lawyer at the FCC, Gigi Sohn; talked to NBC News via email, writing, “The FCC and industry had argued that because the Trump FCC has repealed the 2015 rules, the 2016 decision was moot, and the Supreme Court should wipe it from the books. Now that the Supreme Court has refused to do so, parties challenging the 2017 net neutrality repeal order can continue to rely on that 2016 decision, which provides strong support for their argument that the 2017 repeal is contrary to law.”

Reports by the Root has it that, “With the FCC’s repeal of those protections, the Federal Trade Commission was put in the position of preventing anti-competitive behavior on the part of internet service providers. The new rules leave a lot of room for internet service providers to find ways to skirt policy enforcement. The FTC is only able to take action against a company that violates the trust of its customers. If a company discloses what it is doing—for instance putting out a notice that it will block any content that doesn’t come from one of its subsidiaries—then it would be in the clear. That does not bode well for consumers.”

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Jessica Rosenworcel, the only Democratic FCC Commissioner, and former Commissioner Mignon Clyburn have been vocal advocates for net neutrality. The even called the Supreme Court ruling “interesting” on social media.

She wrote, “It wasn’t enough for this @FCC to roll back #NetNeutrality. It actually petitioned the Supreme Court to erase history and wipe out an earlier court decision upholding open internet policy. But today the Supreme Court refused to do so. Let’s call this interesting.”

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The current FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai stated that he believes the Obama era protections were a way to “micromanage” the internet.

With this, many states are putting in place their own net neutrality rule, as some file lawsuits against the FCC over its repeal of the net neutrality rules. 21 states and the District of Columbia are some of those who have already filed a lawsuit against FCC.

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