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Several of the US’s Major internet firms have banded together to form a group known as the Internet Association with the sole intention of... Google, Microsoft And Amazon Join Forces To Appeal FCC Net Neutrality Ruling

Several of the US’s Major internet firms have banded together to form a group known as the Internet Association with the sole intention of suing the FCC and preventing the government body from overturning the Title 2 2015 net neutrality rules.

The IA which is backed by heavyweight tech firms including Google, Microsoft and Amazon, intends to file the lawsuits when the FCC repeal bill reaches the Federal Register toward the end of January this year.

The IA will focus their legal arguments on how the FCC allegedly knowingly deliberately ignored overwhelming public opinion in favor of continuing the status quo regarding net neutrality, and also because they disregarded the opinion of independent experts when they made their decision.

The FCC building; shortly being sued by some of the world’s largest companies.

Whole lotta bots

Research last summer for instance, found that the vast majority of the 22 million comments submitted to the FCC during the consultation period were against net neutrality, but that most of these ‘against’ comments were written or submitted by ‘bots’. Research by Gravwell, a data analytics company showed that only a mere 3,863,929 comments had been individually written and were unique. The other 18 and a bit million appeared to be copied, pasted, and resubmitted multiple times, most likely by bots.

Ignoring the facts

Perhaps the strongest argument the IA have however is the fact that the FCC intentionally chose not to give weight to the abundance of independent objective data as it rushed to kill popular net neutrality rules, allegedly at the behest of major Internet Service Providers such as AT&T, Verizon and Comcast.

“The final version of Chairman Pai’s rule, as expected, dismantles popular net neutrality protections for consumers,” IA President Michael Beckerman said. “This rule defies the will of a bipartisan majority of Americans and fails to preserve a free and open internet,” he added. “[The] IA intends to act as an intervenor in judicial action against this order and, along with our member companies, will continue our push to restore strong, enforceable net neutrality protections through a legislative solution.”

Consumer protection?

Supporters of the rules argue that they represent a vital consumer protection, and have vowed not only to fight the FCC decision in court but also to seek solutions at the state level and in Congress.

The IA is not alone in their current fight to maintain an open and equal internet. Opponents of the rule changes have been preparing legal arguments to try and force the FCC to reverse their decision

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for instance has announced he is leading a multi-party lawsuit to halt the new net neutrality rules on behalf of several US States.

Pieces of the Pai

The FCC’s current chairman, Ajit Pai, is a Republican ideologue. Pai was appointed in January, 2017, and has long argued that the idea of net neutrality amounts to undue regulation that hurts business. As a Republican, he has the majority of votes on the FCC, and seems set to destroy the current rules late in the summer. “Do we want the government to control the internet? Or do we want to embrace the light-touch approach,” said Pai in April. Until very recently, Pai worked for Verizon, a company with a vested interest in ending net neutrality.