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California passes net neutrality law, Trump administration sues

02 October 2018

The Trump administration has sued California over a new law imposing net neutrality protections.

The department will insist that regulating net neutrality is exclusively the responsibility of the federal government and not the state authorities, senior DOJ officials told the Washington Post. -Evan Greer, Fight for the FutureEvan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future, was among those championing the tireless work of activists, organizers, and regular citizens who pushed the bill in California and have been working to restore net neutrality protections nationwide since FCC chairman Ajit Pai, a former Verizon lobbyist and appointed by President Donald Trump, led the effort to destroy them on behalf of the telecom industry past year.

Jerry Brown signed a bill barring internet service providers from slowing customer speeds, blocking access to lawful content and offering "fast lanes" for large sites like Facebook, Google and Netflix.

Advocates hope California's new law to stop internet providers from favoring certain content or websites will push Congress to enact national rules or encourage other states to create their own. Identifying the internet as a interstate information service, he said only the federal government can set policy for it.

The move has now resulted in the United States Justice Department filing a suit against the state, Reuters reported.

California's law also adds something that the original net neutrality rules didn't have; it prevents content streamers from paying to have its music or video streamed with a zero-rating.

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Marc Martin, a former FCC staffer who is now chairman of communications practice at the law firm Perkins Coie, said typical "pre-emption" lawsuits filed by the federal government seek to bar states from ignoring properly enacted federal regulations such as the Voting Rights Act.

The state law would guarantee what is known as net neutrality - rules that were established during the Obama administration, but that the Federal Communications Commission under President Trump rescinded a year ago.

State legislators began working on the bill when the Trump administration began to scale back net neutrality regulations past year, with many Democrats viewing the legislation as a victory against the White House.

Consequently, numerous other 25-odd states mulling over passing their own net-neutrality laws are undoubtedly going to keep tabs on the outcome of this trial, making this crucial to the fate of net-neutrality in the U.S.

"Not only is California's Internet regulation law illegal, it also hurts consumers".

In response, the California attorney general and 21 other state attorneys general filed a lawsuit in January in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals seeking to invalidate the FCC rollback. "We will do so with vigor", said Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

California passes net neutrality law, Trump administration sues