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Monday, October 01, 2018
U.S. Justice Department Files Net Neutrality Lawsuit Against California


The U.S. Justice Department on Sunday filed suit after California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation to restore net neutrality in the state after the Trump administration repealed the rules in December 2017.

The Justice Department alleges that Senate Bill 822, which will otherwise take effect Jan. 1, "unlawfully imposes burdens on the Federal Government's deregulatory approach to the Internet"

"California, through Senate Bill 822, is attempting to subvert the Federal Government's deregulatory approach by imposing burdensome state regulations on the free Internet, which is unlawful and anti-consumer," the DoJ said in a statement.

In filing the complaint, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued the following statement:

"Under the Constitution, states do not regulate interstate commerce - the federal government does. Once again the California legislature has enacted an extreme and illegal state law attempting to frustrate federal policy. The Justice Department should not have to spend valuable time and resources to file this suit today, but we have a duty to defend the prerogatives of the federal government and protect our Constitutional order. We will do so with vigor. We are confident that we will prevail in this case - because the facts are on our side."

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said on Sunday the Trump Administration was ignoring "millions of Americans who voiced strong support for net neutrality rules" while California, which is "home to countless start-ups, tech giants and nearly 40 million consumers - will not allow a handful of power brokers to dictate sources for information or the speed at which websites load."

In December, the Federal Communications Commission said in repealing the Obama-era rules that it was preempting states from setting their own rules governing internet access.

Those rules prohibited internet service providers from stratifying users and websites by who can pay for faster surfing speeds and service. Broadband providers would be blocked from slowing traffic on their airwaves while charging consumers for faster access.

The Trump administration rules were a win for providers like Comcast, AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications, but the net neutrality repeal was opposed by internet companies like Facebook, Amazon.com and Alphabet.

In August, 22 states and a coalition of trade groups representing major tech companies urged a federal appeals court to reinstate the rules. Oral arguments are set for February 1.


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