U.S. Justice Department Sues California for Reimposing Strict Net Neutrality Protections

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On Sunday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law that will bring back strict net neutrality protections to users in the state, four months after net neutrality officially expired in the United States thanks to the FCC's vote to repeal the regulations last December (via USA Today).


Now that California has renewed net neutrality in the state, the United States Justice Department has filed a lawsuit in attempt to strike down the bill. In a statement, the Justice Department says that California's Senate Bill 822 "unlawfully imposes burdens on the Federal Government's deregulatory approach to the Internet."

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FCC Chairman Ajit Pai also commented on the lawsuit:
Sessions: "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."

Pai: "I'm pleased the Department of Justice has filed this suit. The Internet is inherently an interstate information service. As such, only the federal government can set policy in this area. And the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit recently reaffirmed that state regulation of information services is preempted by federal law.

"Not only is California's Internet regulation law illegal, it also hurts consumers. The law prohibits many free-data plans, which allow consumers to stream video, music, and the like exempt from any data limits. They have proven enormously popular in the marketplace, especially among lower-income Americans. But notwithstanding the consumer benefits, this state law bans them."
California is not the first state to pass its own net neutrality bill, but none have yet been as strict. Under the law, California broadband providers will not be able to slow down or block any websites, charge higher fees to customers to receive faster internet speeds, and the law also limits some zero-rated data plans.

Without net neutrality regulations, internet service providers like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T have the legal ability to throttle any traffic on their networks, and block access to sites and services completely, as long as they inform their customers of their actions. In essence, many have theorized that this could lead to ISPs bundling "packages" of internet sites and selling them like cable companies, as well as putting high-paying customers in "fast lanes" and everyone else in "slow lanes."

Net neutrality opponents, like Pai, say this will lead to "better, faster, cheaper internet access for consumers, and more competition." They also cite the return to an "open" and less regulated internet, seen prior to the 2015 induction of net neutrality.

Numerous technology companies have voiced support of net neutrality over the past year, including Apple, Google, Amazon, Netflix, and more. Apple last year stated that the net neutrality repeal could "fundamentally alter the internet as we know it," and if it passed it would be put in place to the detriment of consumers, competition, and innovation.

For California, a legal battle will now happen between the state and the Justice Department, with a few other individuals opposing California's law. This includes U.S. Telecom Association CEO Jonathan Spalter, who said, "Rather than 50 states stepping in with their own conflicting open internet solutions, we need Congress to step up with a national framework for the whole internet ecosystem and resolve this issue once and for all."

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Article Link: U.S. Justice Department Sues California for Reimposing Strict Net Neutrality Protections
 

Scottsoapbox

macrumors 6502a
Oct 10, 2014
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I believe every state law ever is a "burden" on top Federal law. That's how the system is structured.
 

AdonisSMU

macrumors 604
Oct 23, 2010
6,603
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Yikes! This is probably one issue that cuts across party lines and trump supporter vs trump non-supporter.
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Trump supporters in disbelief.

Anyway, this net neutrality thing will never survive. The question is not if, but when will it be abolished.
Has the court ruled on a federal regulation vs a state law. The regulation wasn't explicitly voted on by congress. I would think something this contentious should be voted on by congress. In the absence of congress the states would obviously have their law respected.
 
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thisisnotmyname

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Oct 22, 2014
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Yikes! This is probably one issue that cuts across party lines and trump supporter vs trump non-supporter.
[doublepost=1538397462][/doublepost]
Has the court ruled on a federal regulation vs a state law. The regulation wasn't explicitly voted on by congress. I would think something this contentious should be voted on by congress. In the absence of congress the states would obviously have their law respected.
Regardless of your stance on net neutrality the federal government is likely to win this.
 

Sasparilla

macrumors 65816
Jul 6, 2012
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Awesome to see California doing this. Not sure what the likelihood is of it surviving, but its good to see it out there.

Of course, the FCC had net neutrality in place (so Congress didn't need to make legislation). In the end, the industry's affected almost certainly wanted such a situation to justify / push Congress to create a lobbyist written piece of corruption with some title like Net Neutrality but actually achieving the opposite.

It's good to point out paid (mostly corporate) lobbying didn't start in the U.S. until the early 70's (GOP) with the Dems coming on board in the late 70's - which at this point has almost totally corrupted the Federal political system here in the U.S. except for social issues the parties depend on to lock in voters. Paul Manafort (the same guy) was a key player in creating this paid lobbying and (now) massive industry.
 

lec0rsaire

macrumors 68000
Feb 23, 2017
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Funny that they don’t have any problem with states’ rights when it comes to restricting abortion access.

Ajit Pai is just a servant who is looking out for his masters that will reward him once his time at the FCC is up. This is just another item on the list that the next Dem administration will correct along with all of the damage done at the EPA and CFPB.
 

unobtainium

macrumors 68020
Mar 27, 2011
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It's good to point out paid (mostly corporate) lobbying didn't start in the U.S. until the early 70's (GOP) with the Dems coming on board in the late 70's - which at this point has almost totally corrupted the Federal political system here in the U.S. except for social issues the parties depend on to lock in voters. Paul Manafort (the same guy) was a key player in creating this paid lobbying and (now) massive industry.
“Government by the people for the people” has become “government for the highest bidder.”

Good for California. This is a state rights issue as well.
 

GrumpyMom

macrumors G3
Sep 11, 2014
8,690
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You can support trump and still be against this.
Yeah actually I got the impression from Trump’s previous stances on things like gender neutral bathrooms that he was more in favor of giving back more autonomy to the states.

I don’t really know myself what Trump supporters themselves want or don’t want. I honestly don’t pay much attention because all people are acting amped up these days and it’s giving me a headache to listen to any extreme.

I voted for the other evil, but I’m actually more or less okay with some of the things Trump has attempted to do or done, especially fighting against globalist ideals. I’m against big government in general, because it tends to not answer as effectively to the people and instead dictates from the top down and tends to overlook local conditions and needs in favor of a one size fits all approach.

In this case I admire what California is trying to do. I’m not a fan of Ajit Pai. Nothing he has stood for so far has seemed consumer friendly so far. He comes across as the ultimate corporate ho.
 
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Gasu E.

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Mar 20, 2004
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Has the court ruled on a federal regulation vs a state law. The regulation wasn't explicitly voted on by congress. I would think something this contentious should be voted on by congress. In the absence of congress the states would obviously have their law respected.
A couple of comments on how US law works (NOT my opinion on whether net neutrality is good or bad):

1. Congress passes laws that are relatively sweeping, and empowers the Executive branch or federal agencies to figure out the details and issue regulations. That's where the FCC's authority to do this comes from. The FCC has been issuing regulations in this area since well before the current administration, per authority granted by Congress. No one successfully challenged that before.

2. The US Constitution grants the Federal Government the exclusive power to regulate "interstate commerce". Internet traffic is indisputably "commerce". If an internet service provider provides services to a client in another state, that seems, to me, indisputably "interstate". I don't see how California has a leg to stand on here, Constitutionally speaking. Sorry.
 

GrumpyMom

macrumors G3
Sep 11, 2014
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Sure, but there will be that very bitter taste, which is very unpleasant...
It depends on the person. As a voter who has always been middle of the road, I have found plenty to oppose from even the presidents and legislators for whom I voted. I actually find it hard to fathom people who are able to live in lockstep with everything their particular party or favorite candidate espouses.
 

cmwade77

macrumors 65816
Nov 18, 2008
1,055
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I think California shouldn't have banned the plans that don't count certain types of data, that is wrong, but overall net neutrality is a must, ISPs have proven this in the past and it is a shame that the federal government thought getting rid of it was a good idea. Now the question is do the states have the legal authority to instate their own? Lets hope so, because otherwise the internet as we know will cease to function.
 

Gasu E.

macrumors 601
Mar 20, 2004
4,578
2,550
Not far from Boston, MA.
State’s rights????

Or does that only apply to Red states?
Look at the US Constitution. Specifically, Article one, section 8, clause 3.

The various rights of the US government vs. state governments has been spelled out in the US Constitution since day 1, with a few amendments modifying those rights specifically, and 200 years on Supreme Court interpretation and precedent laying out the details.
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You know it’s funny they will allow and defended that each state should decide for themselves if there should be oil drilling, yet for net neutrality they won’t allow it. Very hypocritical if you ask me.
For each of these (internet traffic and oil drilling), it would have to be argued separately whether or not it is "interstate commerce", and therefore subject to Federal control. It seems to me, for internet traffic, it's open and shut. I haven't seen the arguments that oil drilling, in the general case, is necessarily interstate commerce, but it seems to be that's more questionable.
 
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ThunderSkunk

macrumors 68030
Dec 31, 2007
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I think everyone would be happiest if Sessions and Pai would ride an aircraft carrier out to the coast and declare war on California.

Let’s get this party started!
 

macduke

macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
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Another example of Republican's BIG government Trumping state rights issues. I feel like I live in bizzaro world now.

They only seem to support state rights issues when the state is trying to limit civil liberties or destroy the environment. This is the problem with partisan politics. I feel like half the reason the Republicans are as bad as they are today is because the Democrats had some good ideas and by default the Republicans took the opposite position without consideration. The other half of the reason is because there actually are a bunch of racists in the party. Not everyone but a lot more. Both sides can have good ideas, and the Democrats have been guilty of dismissing some good Republican ideas as well over the years, but the Republicans are taking it to an extreme in the past several years and are out of control. Just look no further than their supreme court nominee who instead of being a calm and considerate impartial justice of the highest order is frothing at the mouth during these hearings—barely able to control himself. My four year old daughter can handle her emotions better than he can. Not sure why they don't just replace him with another conservative justice at this point, but this was their top pick, so I'm not hopeful that they have anyone better lined up.
 

IowaLynn

macrumors 68000
Feb 22, 2015
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Pai was brought in like other administration officials because of his ties to and lobbying for same industry to use the power of government to give private companies more profits, less oversight, less regulation. And sell “war is peace” bs.
 

unobtainium

macrumors 68020
Mar 27, 2011
2,359
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Another example of Republican's BIG government Trumping state rights issues. I feel like I live in bizzaro world now.

They only seem to support state rights issues when the state is trying to limit civil liberties or destroy the environment.
The pattern is actually quite simple. They are “pro state rights” when it’s what corporations want. For example a reduction in environmental protections. They are “anti state rights” when it’s what corporations want. For example a reduction in consumer protection. In all cases, they want whatever the big corporations want.

The other stuff - abortion etc. - is just a sideshow, an attempt to secure their conservative base so the base will vote for corporate interests.
 
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macduke

macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
10,926
14,611
Central U.S.
The pattern is actually quite simple. They are “pro state rights” when it’s what corporations want. For example a reduction in environmental protections. They are “anti state rights” when it’s what corporations want. For example a reduction in consumer spending. In all cases, they want whatever the big corporations want.

The other stuff - abortion etc. - is just a sideshow, an attempt to secure their conservative base so the base will vote for corporate interests.
This is a really concise way of putting it. Thanks.

Very rarely they will have a good idea or two for business which doesn't seem like it screws over people and will help the economy. But most of the time it's pretty ridiculous how in bed they are with corporations. My eyes have really opened up to that over the past 10 years. I have very libertarian view on privacy and that is where things started breaking down for me, and then I started realizing all of their other failings. People tend to latch onto one or two issues and ignore all the other bad things. I was guilty of that, and might still be guilty of that voting the other way. It's why I still refuse to say I'm a democrat, even though I'm voting that way any more. I'd prefer a more moderate independent option but it just doesn't exist and we're in full on emergency mode right now trying to right the ship. We're the laughing stock of the world. It's shameful. I just hate bouncing between extremes, but right now the republicans are way to the right and the democrats are closer to center on average.
 
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