New California internet neutrality law sparks USA lawsuit

New California internet neutrality law sparks USA lawsuit

Yesterday one of the toughest net neutrality bills now being considered in the United States was signed into law by the Governor of California.

Led by Scott Wiener (D-California), lawmakers met with little resistance in pushing through Senate Bill 822, which prohibits internet service providers from blocking or slowing down websites or "whole classes of applications", like video.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who is challenging the FCC's repeal in court along with other states, said in a statement, "Here in California - a state that is home to countless start-ups and technology giants alike - we know that a handful of powerful companies should not dictate the sources for the information we seek or the speed at which our websites load".

As State Senator Weiner said in a statement, within minutes of the signing, Attorney General Jeff Sessions "came out of his cave and sued California to strike down the law", but Weiner said he is confident that California will be able to fend off the federal challenge.

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They had cheered California's attempt to force the Obama-era rules back into effect through state legislation. 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. But this bill is neither the way to get there, nor will it help advance the promise and potential of California's innovation DNA.

"I look forward to working with my colleagues and the Department of Justice to ensure the internet remains 'unfettered by federal or state regulation, ' as federal law requires, and the domain of engineers, entrepreneurs, and technologists, not lawyers and bureaucrats."

Supporters of the new law cheered it as a win for internet freedom. They have proven enormously popular in the marketplace, especially among lower-income Americans. Thirty other states are debating net neutrality measures of their own. "While the Trump Administration does everything in its power to undermine our democracy, we in California will continue to do what's right for our residents".

But to justify the law, California would also need to prove that its existing laws and powers aren't enough to protect consumer welfare on net neutrality, said Berin Szóka, president of the think tank TechFreedom and a critic of the legislation. "California won - and California will fight this lawsuit as well". Look for them to try to challenge this new law in court before it takes effect later this year.

OR and Washington already have their own regulations in place, though nowhere near as strict as California's.

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