US Appeals Court Upholds Net Neutrality

Internet service providers (ISP) lost another crucial legal battle in the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C last June 15. The court sustained the Federal Communications Commission decision that classified the internet as a public utility and preserved Net Neutrality. The ruling penned by Justice David Tatel and Sri Srinivasan rejected the ISPs bold claim that their right to discriminate and favor certain data is covered by the First Amendment (which protects freedom of speech). The argument was that by prioritizing some data over others, they were in fact conveying a message— a form of speech that should be protected.

Dismissing this argument the court held that “a broadband provider does not— and is not understood by users to—’speak’ when providing neutral access to Internet” and hence there is actually no violation to the First Amendment. The lawsuit, filed by a mix of broadband industry lobby groups and Internet providers, also argued that the Commission lacked statutory authority to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service, that even if it did, the decision was arbitrary and whimsical. All of these arguments were also rejected by the court.

AT&T, one of the petitioners, through a spokesperson said that they expected the issue to be settled by the Supreme Court and is looking forward to file an appeal.


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A political science graduate and a struggling law student with a relentless passion for writing. He keeps himself updated on the latest developments in science, technology, business, law and politics. John also loves to play the guitar, read books, play chess, and occasionally write poetry.