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Government The Internet United States

Many US States Propose Their Own Laws Protecting Net Neutrality ( 144

An anonymous reader quotes the New York Times: Lawmakers in at least six states, including California and New York, have introduced bills in recent weeks that would forbid internet providers to block or slow down sites or online services. Legislators in several other states, including North Carolina and Illinois, are weighing similar action... By passing their own law, the state lawmakers say, they would ensure that consumers would find the content of the choice, maintain a diversity of voices online and protect businesses from having to pay fees to reach users.

And they might even have an effect beyond their states. California's strict auto-emissions standards, for example, have been followed by a dozen other states, giving California major sway over the auto industry. "There tends to be a follow-on effect, particularly when something happens in a big state like California," said Harold Feld, a senior vice president at a nonprofit consumer group, Public Knowledge, that supports net-neutrality efforts by the states. Bills have also been introduced in Massachusetts, Nebraska, Rhode Island and Washington.

In addition, a representative in Alaska's legislature has also pre-filed legislation requiring the state's ISPs to practice net neutrality, which will be introduced when the state legislature resumes on January 16th.

"The recent FCC decision eliminating net neutrality was a mistake that favors the big internet providers and those who want to restrict the kinds of information a free-thinking Alaskan can access," representative Scott Kawasaki told a local news station. "That is not the Alaskan way, and I am hopeful my colleagues in the House and Senate will agree..."

The Independent also notes that Europe "is still strongly committed" to net neutrality.
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Many US States Propose Their Own Laws Protecting Net Neutrality

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 13, 2018 @12:53PM (#55921955)

    The states that have it will see an increase of geeks immigrating to their states and setting up businesses there.

  • Fuck Ajit Pai (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nick ( 109 ) on Saturday January 13, 2018 @12:54PM (#55921959) Journal
    Fuck Ajit Pai.
    • I think even here nobody would be desperate enough to take that offer.

    • I second the motion. :-)
      He's nothing but a shill for the telecoms and ISPs. So far as I'm concerned, once Robert Mueller is done with slicing-and-dicing Trump and his people, he should move on to some of the appointees like Pai. Bet you cash money he's getting paid large sums under the table by the big corps like Comcast/Xfinity and AT&T to fuck over the American people and prop up their outdated, greedy business models.
      • by MrL0G1C ( 867445 )

        Bet you cash money he's getting paid large sums under the table

        No, He'll just get gigantic bonuses when he goes back to work for them or he'll become a lobbyist. 'Revolving door'.

    • Well looks like Paiâ(TM)s actions resulted in potentially making things worse for big ISPs. We can thank him for being an arsehole, for inadvertently galvanising a movement.

      As part of this wave should be an attempt to open up the field to new competitors, whether that is by state network infrastructure that is leased out to new players (akin to the highway infrastructure) or some other approach.

    • by pots ( 5047349 )
      Ajit Pai is a stooge, a scapegoat. Yes he's a bad man, but it's important to recognize that he's just doing what congress put him there to do. They knew when they confirmed him and the other commissioners that this would happen - he's never been secretive about it.
  • by jader3rd ( 2222716 ) on Saturday January 13, 2018 @12:57PM (#55921977)
    The FCC ruled that no states can create laws to enforce Net Neutrality. While it would be nice to have a head on attack work, I fear that it may not. So instead the states should make life difficult for ISP found violating New Neutrality. Say a law like "If the ISP is caught violating Net Neutrality, that ISP is banned from advertising" or something like that.
    • by Megane ( 129182 )
      Also, Interstate Commerce Clause.
      • by bigpat ( 158134 )

        Also, Interstate Commerce Clause.

        There are plenty of laws that states pass that interfere with interstate commerce far more than local enforcement of net neutrality would. Many, if not most, businesses or individuals require state and local licenses in addition to any Federal Licenses they may need. Then they need to pay state and local taxes and comply with state and local regulations. In some instances you can't even sell stuff directly into a state unless you go through a local distributor. Thinking alcohol and cars, but probably ot

      • Also, Interstate Commerce Clause.

        Advertising in your state doesn't go across states. In your state and the commerce clause, doesn't apply.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      FCC regulations do not supercede state laws. Such a rule would be thrown out in court immediately.
    • How about "Nothing in this law forbids an ISP from introducing "Speed lanes" or slowing down a competitors content. However if they chose to behave this way, they will be required to pay the cost of providing a physical interconnect to a competitors network-neutrality respecting service if the customer requests it.".

      So basically, sure Comcast, by all means block netflix, but only if your prepared to fork up the cost of installing Google fibre in an unhappy customers house.

      • by Entrope ( 68843 )

        "Company X blocks or throttles network traffic between X's users and X's competitor Y" is a straightforward violation of existing, well-founded laws about fair competition. The FCC's net neutrality rules did not, and cannot, change those laws or make the inapplicable.

        • Yeah....handing the enforcement over to the FTC solves the problem for anyone that wants the problem to not be solved. the FTC is a toothless organization that has almost no power to enforce laws because it is understaffed and under funded....and they are a trade organization, not a technology organization. They don't know shit about the internet.

          • by Entrope ( 68843 )

            Fortunately for you, the FTC isn't the only party that can prosecute violations of anti-trust or fair-competition laws. State and local prosecutors and even private parties can, too.

        • by NoZart ( 961808 )

          It's not so straight forward if a company can claim
          "we did our best effort, but our service x takes up so much bandwidth, so there's none left for y"
          No Company can be coaxed into damaging its own services to enable a competitors. Which makes the above statement the de facto argument for each and any throttling that's going to happen.

      • The only problem with what you're suggesting is that the affected big telecom (i.e. Comcast, AT&T, etc) could and likely would price-gouge the living hell out of the competing NN-respecting ISP, who would have no choice but to pass that cost on to the customer. If the FCC is going to gut NN in the first place (because Pai is a shill for them and might be being paid under the table to do so) what makes you think they'll bat an eye at the big ISPs reaming a small ISP for pass-through? Maybe they can sue o
    • If states wanted to effectively ensure that Net Neutrality existed they could ban cities from offering monopoly rights to ISPs. I suspect that if providers were to actually have to compete for customers based on their service, you'd quickly see that companies which try to throttle certain types of traffic would be avoided by consumers.

      You can't have a system that allows a private business to effectively function like a utility without requiring it to also behave like a utility. Since it does not appear e
    • That is what courts are for. My hope, and my bet, is that SCOTUS will say the FCC can not regulate what states do over and above the rules they set forth.

    • If I'm not mistaken, as a Nuclear Option, states should always have the ability to kick companies like Comcast and AT&T out completely. Sounds utterly outrageous but I think legally speaking it would be possible.

      In any event, under the current administration, there has to be ways to leverage things, no matter how fucked-up they are (and they really are); Trump made a big deal about "giving power back to the States" as part of "MAGA", so guess what? Allowing the FCC to dictate to the States on this is
      • Republicans only care about states' rights when it makes rich people richer. For that matter, the only things they care about are the things that make rich people richer.
        • Republicans know they're an Endangered Species at this point, why do you think so many of them are 'retiring', not seeking re-election? They know they're junglefucked, courtesy of Trump & Company. In 2020 the socio-political needle will swing back left towards center again, as the sheer mass of the disaffected, disposessed, and generally pissed-off get out of their chairs, and the gravitational force of that mass will pull things out of the tailspin they're in. Balance is the Way of the Universe, and so
          • They also know what their priority must be for now: Policy and influence entrenchment. They need to not only achieve their objectives, but achieve them in such a way that they cannot be overturned for many years no matter what happens electorally. One key means to do this is appointments, especially to judicial positions - they successfully stalled a lot of appointments during Obama's second term and created a substantial backlog of empty positions, so Trump is now in the process of filling them up with peo

      • states should always have the ability to kick companies like Comcast and AT&T out completely.

        I say keep increasing fines until they leave. That way the states can pay off more debt.

        • Eventually they'll be forced to change their business models and they damned well know it, this bullshit is just them going kicking-and-screaming the whole way.
  • The only reason we don't have net neutrality now is because there is no competition. The far better solution would be to outlaw exclusive franchises. The market has to be pried open. And a good way to do that is to make the companies compete against a municipality/state provided service. Net neutrality should naturally follow.

  • by iamacat ( 583406 ) on Saturday January 13, 2018 @01:27PM (#55922103)

    I see Comcast cable dangling over my backyard, suspended on utility poles I pay for with my tax money. I don't see any reason to allow that if they get frisky. How about my town does competitive bidding to get a backbone hookup and maintain local routers and wires? If Comcast wins fine, but Silicon Valley has lots of startups who would love to land a big gig.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Those cables and poles are surely placed in an easement that has been recorded against your property. The government will fuck you with a pineapple if you do anything to interfere with services in that easement.

    • of private enterprise. At least in theory. If people already had good working government service (like the VA for example) you might have a shot. But you'll have no luck with muni broadband until you can convince people that the government doesn't screw up everything it tries. Yeah, yeah, there's lots of evidence of that, but when has evidence ever worked against a multi-million dollar ad blitz?
      • by iamacat ( 583406 )

        Well, now access is granted to one company with no competitive bidding. I am for private enterprise myself, but think of a town like one big HOA where land deed gives HOA a grant to provide certain services and in turn HOA is obligated to contract these services in the most efficient manner. Like it's well understood that competing swimming pools are not practical, so the board needs to choose a specific poolman to maintain the single one. I don't see how broadband is that different from water or electricit

  • 50 nation states with 50 different sets of laws. The only legitimate purposes of the federal government are to make sure they don't fight each other and to combine military force to make sure other nations don't invade.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      No, the Interstate Commerce clause was written for a good reason, along with the Full Faith and Credit clause. Without them, you end with legal anarchy, preventing large scale economic growth. There wouldn't BE an internet if the Federal government hadn't used the FCC and FTC to regulate long distance communications.

      The Founders had just seen the first attempt at creating a nation fall apart around their ears, and wanted to make sure it didn't happen again. So they introduced or strengthened the powers o

  • Please. Instead, it is better for states to remove all monopolies AND allow local gov to create muni-fiber broadbands, but keep isp/TV/security/VoIP/etc open architecture and encourage competition.
    • We can have both.
      • actually, by allowing COMcast/RBOCs to screw with their traffic, it will only tick off customers and encourage more municipals to add their own fiber.
        Otherwise, it will happen slowly.
        This is why I want to see them go ahead and destroy their customer base by our removing NN as well as monopoly.
  • in the first place. Starting with local legislation, which then gains traction and becomes state legislation, and (if enough people like the idea) eventually leads to federal legislation requiring net neutrality.

    Those of you pissed at Ajit Pai have only yourselves to blame. He only had the power to revoke net neutrality because you gleefully supported his predecessor when he implemented net neutrality in what was a total run-around of the legislative process this country is founded on. By allowing Tom
  • This will probably lead to more implementations of geoblocking and VPN blocking shenanigans

  • Which six states are working on this?

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