Kickstarter, Etsy, Automattic, Shutterstock, Expa & Foursquare are Suing the FCC Over Net Neutrality

The FCC: Destroyer of Net Neutrality
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The FCC: Destroyer of Net Neutrality
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Federal Communications Commission (FCC) headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is battling dozens of lawsuits from U.S. states and tech companies.  And now, there’s another coalition fighting for net neutrality.

If you’re just tuning into this mess, the Republican-dominated FCC just killed the net neutrality rule.  Under the leadership of Chairman Ajit Pai, the FCC is aiming to liberate mega-ISPs like Comcast and Verizon from onerous federal regulation.  That shift towards ‘light touch regulation’ is viewed as a lucrative gift to ISPs, who are now free to throttle, block or accelerate any site — based on who’s paying and who’s not.

+Washington Becomes the First U.S. State to Pass a Law Protecting Net Neutrality

That has predictably triggered a massive protest, one that now includes some of the largest internet companies in the world.  Now, Etsy, Expa, Kickstarter, Automattic, Foursquare, and Shutterstock have just joined the fight.  In a legal petition filed with the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit this week, the consortium against the FCC’s decision to end net neutrality.

The group is flying under the banner of ‘The Coalition for Internet Openness’.  And they have plenty of friends.

Really, really powerful friends.  The Internet Association, whose ranks include Amazon, Google, and Facebook, joined an existing lawsuit against the FCC back in January.  That follows more than two dozen lawsuits from U.S. state attorneys general, not to mention a number of Executive Orders from state governors mandating net neutrality.

Oh, and Washington State just passed a full-blown law protecting net neutrality.

“The fight for net neutrality is the fight for civil liberties and a more vibrant culture,” Candace Martin, commercial counsel for Kickstarter.  “Without it, the free and equal exchange of ideas is at risk.”

A Radically Different ISP Could Change the Net Neutrality Debate

Marc Ellenbogen, general counsel and chief compliance officer for Foursquare, said:  “We believe that everyone has the right to access information on places, spaces and people and that business leaders and brands need to be able to interpret trends and patterns as they truly exist.”

It was only in 2015 that the FCC acceded to the millions of activists pressuring it to adopt historic net neutrality rules that keep the internet free and open — allowing people to share and access information of their choosing without interference.  Now, it looks like reversing those hard-fought provisions might be more difficult than originally thought.