ACLU Commends the FCC’s Restoration of Net Neutrality Regulations

April 25, 2024 12:00 pm

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WASHINGTON — The American Civil Liberties Union commends the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) vote today to restore vital net neutrality regulations by reclassifying broadband under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. After today’s vote, the FCC once again possesses the necessary oversight powers to safeguard users against exploitative or negligent practices by internet service providers (ISPs).

“Today marks the last day that internet service providers can continue to put profit over people,” said Jenna Leventoff, senior policy counsel at the ACLU. “We are thrilled that the FCC now has the authority it needs to protect consumers, promote the exercise of First Amendment rights online, and ensure that everyone has access to high-quality, affordable internet. However, we urge the Commission not to exercise its authority to preempt consistent state laws that grant consumers additional protections.”

This vote restores important internet protections, such as allowing the FCC to regulate ISPs as common carriers and prohibiting practices such as blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization, ensuring that all internet traffic is treated equally. Without these safeguards, what we can see on the internet, along with the quality of our connection, becomes vulnerable to the profit-driven decisions of internet service providers.

Although the ACLU believes that these rules are a tremendous step forward, we wish that they explicitly allowed states to create stronger net neutrality rules. Though an established national net neutrality standard is essential for ensuring that all users can have a fair and accessible internet, states should know, without a doubt, that they have the authority to pass consistent rules with additional consumer protections. Moving forward, we urge the Commission not to exercise its preemption authority against state laws that are consistent and that provide additional consumer protections.

Today’s rules correct previous efforts to limit internet freedoms and the Commission’s authority to regulate broadband. In 2017, former FCC Chairman Ajit Pai overturned the Open Internet Order in 2015, which categorized broadband as a Title II service. This change stripped the agency of its authority to foster access to dependable, cost-effective broadband and safeguard our freedom to access the internet on our own terms. The ACLU commends efforts to restore these important rules.

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