DOJ Sues California After State Enacts Net Neutrality Law

California Gov. Jerry Brown a Democrat.                  Getty Images

California Gov. Jerry Brown a Democrat. Getty Images

The US Department of Justice aims to find out-it has already hit California with a lawsuit in hopes of blocking the rules, and effectively raining on the state's parade.

California Governor Jerry Brown on Sunday signed the law that re-established net neutrality in his state, the country's largest and home to some of the largest online firms including Facebook and Google.

SB 822, which global non-profit digital rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation described as a "gold standard" of net neutrality legislation, re-establishes the net neutrality protections that the Federal Communications Commission repealed in December 2017, including prohibiting internet service providers from paid prioritization, blocking content and throttling data.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions contended in a statement on Sunday that states cannot regulate interstate commerce, which includes Internet traffic and commerce, only the federal government can enact rules regulating Internet commerce.

But past year, under Trump appointee Pai, the FCC reversed course and repealed net neutrality rules, which prompted several states to began their own efforts. While Falcon noted that "the FCC itself does not have the authority to preempt states" through its order repealing net neutrality, the "dormant commerce clause" allows the federal government to preempt state law in interstate matters, and state regulations can not "unduly burden" interstate commerce efforts.

"I'm pleased the Department of Justice has filed this suit", said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who led FCC efforts to overturn the federal net neutrality policy. We will do so with vigor.

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This suit seems less of a question over whether net-neutrality regulations are legal and more a question over jurisdiction - do states or the federal government have authority over ISPs? "As such, only the federal government can set policy in this area".

"An agency that has no power to regulate has no power to preempt the states, according to case law", she said. He doubled down on calling California's net neutrality regulation illegal, adding that "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", Pai said. They have proven enormously popular in the marketplace, especially among lower-income Americans. "That's why the California law is a welcome development-it's good for consumers, good for businesses, and good for anyone who connects and creates online".

California has enacted a law that offered what the state called "the strongest net neutrality protections in the nation", but the Department of Justice is arguing that the state doesn't have the right to regulate net neutrality.

California's net neutrality law cleared both houses of the legislature by wide margins. "The U.S. needs a single national policy for the internet, not a patchwork approach with 50 different sets of rules that would kill innovation and deter internet adoption".

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra tweeted that the state "will not allow a handful of power brokers to dictate sources for information or the speed at which websites load".

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