As many as 22 states across the US are preparing legal action against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in a bid to prevent it repealing a number of internet neutrality regulations brought-in in 2015.
New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman is leading the charge against Ajit Pai's decision, which was carried by three votes to two in the Republican-controlled Commission.
Pai cancelled an appearance at the recent CES trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada following death threats over the decision.
The suit has been filed in the US Court of Appeals, District of Columbia. Joining New York is:
- New Mexico;
- North Carolina;
- Rhode Island;
- Virginia; and,
All the states taking part are Democrat controlled.
"An open internet - and the free exchange of ideas it allows - is critical to our democratic process," said Schneiderman.
He continued: "The repeal of net neutrality would turn internet service providers into gatekeepers - allowing them to put profits over consumers while controlling what we see, what we do, and what we say online.
"This would be a disaster for New York consumers and businesses, and for everyone who cares about a free and open internet. That's why I'm proud to lead this broad coalition of 22 attorneys general in filing suit to stop the FCC's illegal rollback of net neutrality."
The announcement suggested that the FCC is in breach of the Administrative Procedure Act, claiming that its actions contravene the rule about not making "arbitrary and capricious" changes to existing policies.
The suit adds that the FCC is breaking from the policy without justification, disregarding, and misinterpreting critical evidence on industry practice and the harm it would cause to consumers and businesses.
Furthermore, it argues that retitling the Internet from a Title II telecommunications service to a Title I information service, is based on an ‘erroneous and unreasonable' interpretation of the Telecommunications Act, as well as pre-empting the rights of states and other localities of the Union to make their own decisions.
The retitling is the backbone of what makes net neutrality mandatory, as telecoms are considered to be a universal service, whereas "information services" are not.
Meanwhile, Fight For The Future and other campaign groups have claimed that they now have 49 senators on-side to vote against the Bill that would pass the FCC decision into law. This means that it would only take one more senator to overturn the process.
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