Fighting on behalf of consumers, state attorneys general and legislatures are already working to ensure that net neutrality rules stay in place.
Donald Trump’s handpicked Federal Communications Commission chairman, Ajit Pai, oversaw a dangerous vote on Thursday that stripped away consumer protections for internet users.
But the battle to save the internet from corporate control is likely to soldier on for a long time.
In the immediate aftermath of the vote, 10 states and counting have announced they would sue the FCC to protect net neutrality regulations.
The states argue that the FCC’s review process to overturn the rules was sloppy and won’t withstand a court review.
“We keep beating the Trump administration, we’re 5 and 0 so far, because they rush these decisions,” Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said on Thursday. “And in the process they don’t follow certain rules they need to follow before they execute these decisions.”
Additionally, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman uncovered a scandal in which millions of bogus comments were filed with the FCC in support of gutting net neutrality over the months when the commission was asking for public input.
Trump’s FCC refused to investigate the massive fraud scheme.
Meanwhile, a handful of state legislatures are expected to try to pass laws that would essentially reinstate the internet rules for consumers in those states. That’s a move that the FCC would then likely challenge in court, as the agency is apparently ready to do the bidding of telecommunications giants such as Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T.
“Far from settling the matter, the Republican-led FCC has simply opened a new chapter in a bruising Washington battle that stretches back nearly as far as the dot-com boom itself,” the Washington Post noted. “A legal battle could drag on for months if not years, analysts say.”
Indeed, Democratic FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn signaled at Thursday’s vote that the battle over internet consumer protections is far from over. “I am pleased to be able to say today is that the fight to save net neutrality does not end today. The agency does not have the final word,” she declared. “Thank goodness for that.”
The net neutrality rules put in place under President Barack Obama in 2015 require that internet providers treat all web traffic the same and not be allowed to slow down or block content.
American consumers, including three out of four Republicans, are overwhelmingly opposed to the move against net neutrality rules. Just 16 percent approve of the move made by Trump’s FCC on behalf of huge corporate telecommunications interests.
And state attorneys general are ready to stand with the majority on the right side of history when it comes to protecting the internet from corporations and the overreaches of the Trump administration.