US sues California over 'net neutrality'

02 October, 2018, 13:12 | Author: Lynette Payne
  • Gov. Jerry Brown signs bill requiring California corporate boards to include women

The department filed a lawsuit against the state, alleging the new piece of legislation is "unlawful and anti-consumer". "Once again the California legislature has enacted an extreme and illegal state law attempting to frustrate federal policy", Jeff Sessions, US Attorney General, said.

This new state-level law - Senate Bill 822 - in California is stronger than the now-nonexistent Obama-era regulation, because it also prevents data carriers from exempting certain services from counting towards a customer's data cap, so carriers can't deliver YouTube videos (for example) for free while charging for, say, Hulu.

FILE PHOTO: California Governor Jerry Brown delivers his final state of the state address in Sacramento, California, U.S., January 25, 2018.

"States do not regulate interstate commerce - the federal government does".

The Justice Department nearly immediately filed its lawsuit, arguing Senate Bill 822 interferes with the federal government's deregulatory approach to the internet, according to a statement.

Democratic state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, one of the sponsors of the bill, said the law was necessary because only 75 percent of California-based companies have a woman on their boards, "despite numerous independent studies that show companies with women on their board are more profitable and productive".

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The DOJ and California are wrangling over the legal notion of "pre-emption" and whether the FCC is the sole regulator of net neutrality.

A number of other USA states would also like to implement their own rules to protect net neutrality, although the FCC's decision clearly forbids such moves. However, most of these laws do not go against FCC regulations.

Senator Scott Weiner, who introduced the proposal in the state assembly, believes that California can defend itself - and the bill - in court, citing past skirmishes against the Trump administration with regards to immigration policies. California is one of the first states to truly provoke the FCC.

"While the Trump Administration does everything in its power to undermine our democracy, we in California will continue to do what's right for our residents", Wiener said in a statement.

As Gizmodo reports, the bill-now the most far-reaching of its kind and considered the "gold standard" for state-level protections-"prohibits ISPs from intentionally congesting or degrading web traffic for the objective of imposing unreasonable fees on companies that connect users on ISP networks to other parts of the web, also known as interconnection". The USTelecom trade group, representing telecommunications firms in the states, said Sunday that "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".

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