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FCC Repeals Net Neutrality Protections

December 14, 2017, 8:48 AM HST
* Updated December 14, 8:53 AM
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The Republican-controlled Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, to repeal Obama-era net neutrality protections for broadband companies such as AT&T and Verizon.

The legislation will allow Internet providers to speed up service for some apps and websites and block or slow down others.

The move to deregulate the telecom and cable industry is a major setback for tech companies, consumer groups and Democrats who lobbied heavily against the decision.

The deregulation marks a significant victory for Republicans who vowed to roll back the efforts of the prior administration, despite a recent survey showing that 83% of Americans opposed the plan.

“Today, Trump’s FCC dealt a major blow to the free and open internet by repealing net neutrality rules,” said U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), Ranking Member of the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation and the Internet. “Because of Chairman Pai and the other Republican commissioners, there are no longer any rules in place to stop internet service providers from changing the internet as we know it. They are now free to block apps, slow websites, or even limit access to certain kinds of content. The best way to move forward is to turn our tweets and our comments into action.”

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Attorney General Doug Chin joined 18 state attorneys general yesterday in writing to the FCC to express their concern about falsified comments made to the FCC, and asking the commission to delay its rule-making deadline.

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Attorney General Chin said, “Net neutrality means that internet service providers should not be deciding what we can access on the internet and how easily we can access it. This rushed attempt to rollback net neutrality, riddled with irregularities, should be slowed down to let actual live people weigh in on the issue.”

According to the letter that was sent to the FCC by the attorneys general, “[a] careful review of the publicly available information revealed a pattern of fake submissions using the names of real people. In fact, there may be over one million fake submissions from across the country. This is akin to identity theft on a massive scale—and theft of someone’s voice in a democracy is particularly concerning.”

The multi-state letter was led by Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and signed by Attorney General Chin and the attorneys general of California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington.

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The attorneys general ended the letter by writing, “It is essential that the commission gets a full and accurate picture of how changes to net neutrality will affect the everyday lives of Americans before they can act on such sweeping policy changes.”

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