By now, many have heard about the FCC’s ruling yesterday to can net neutrality. The decision has been long in the works, starting with the first proposal in April 2017. In the face of much opposition, both from the general public and some prominent internet pioneers, and even after a bomb threat, the Commission still moved forward with their decision. The ruling has many potential consequences for internet users, some of which are outlined here. But what happens next?
It’s not over yet. The ruling still has a few months until it takes effect, giving net neutrality advocates time to implement their last ditch efforts to save the regulations. And these efforts will likely come from both sides of the political spectrum. Firstly, many members of congress have already committed to using the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to undo the FCC’s decision. Yesterday, Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts along with 15 other senators announced their plan to introduce a CRA resolution. The act, implemented under President Bill Clinton in 1996, allows Congress 60 legislative days to disapprove of any ruling by any government agency. Congress will have the power to review the decision and even overrule it by a passage of a joint resolution. Once the ruling is repealed, the CRA prohibits the reissuing of the rule in the same form. Essentially, if Congress decides to rule against the FCC’s decision, that would be the end of the discussion.
Additionally, a few attorney generals are planning on suing the FCC for their decision. Just after the decision was made, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced his plan to lead a multi-state lawsuit to stop FCC’s rollback of net neutrality. Additionally, Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson also announced his plan to sue over the decision. In a statement, Ferguson announced his “intention to file a legal challenge to the FCC’s decision to roll back net neutrality, along with attorneys general across the country.”
One of the main issues at hand was the saturation of comments by bots and fake accounts in response to the original net neutrality repeal proposal.The FCC released their plan a couple of months back to allow for public comments. It is now estimated that nearly two million of the comments were from fake and hacked accounts, which oversaturated the feed.
Many were in uproar as the FCC’s decision was made. In the face of this decision, it’s expected that net neutrality advocates will continue to reach out to their representatives and implore them to enact and support the CRA.
Sift Science CEO Jason Tan told Forbes that the decision is “an attack on capitalism, and on democracy.” American Civil Liberties Union Senior Policy Analyst Jay Stanley also expressed his disapproval: “Since the end of the dial-up era, the FCC has enforced network neutrality principles and helped create the internet as we know it. Today’s misguided FCC action represents a radical departure that risks erosion of the biggest free speech platform the world has ever known.”