April 6, 2010
ACLU Calls For Restoration Of Net Neutrality Principles
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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NEW YORK - A federal appeals court today ruled that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) cannot require broadband service providers to treat all lawful Internet content equally. The decision rendered the FCC unable to enforce "network neutrality," the principle that Internet users have the right to use applications and access and transmit data of their choice free of discrimination by network providers.
Today's ruling came in Comcast v. FCC, in which the nation's largest cable company challenged the FCC's authority to enforce net neutrality after Comcast was discovered to have been disrupting operation of the software program BitTorrent independently of any network congestion. Specifically, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that under Title I of the Communications Act, the FCC cannot stop Internet providers from giving preferential treatment to the Internet content or applications of their choice by, for example, allowing some content to reach customers speedily while slowing down or even blocking other data.
In 2005, the FCC decided to regulate the Internet as an "information service" under Title I of the Communications Act, allowing broadband providers to pick and choose which services and information to transmit. That same year, the ACLU argued in the Brand X Supreme Court case that broadband providers should be regulated under Title II, which would protect against discrimination. While today's ruling found that the FCC had exceeded its authority under Title I, the FCC can still choose to regulate network providers under Title II.
More information about the ACLU's work to restore net neutrality is online at: http://www.aclu.org/free-speech/net-neutrality
Information about the ACLU's participation in the Brand X Supreme Court case is available at: click here
Published on American Civil Liberties Union (http://www.aclu.org)
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