Trump vs. California: Net neutrality once again in danger

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Fazeel Ashraf
IT graduate from Pakistan’s National University of Science and Technology with a passion for writing. When not reading or writing, I can be found listening to rock and metal or playing some classic jams on my electric guitar. I’m also a big fan of horror movies.

The Trump administration is in another battle with the State of California. And bad news, net neutrality is in danger once again. The Department of Justice is suing California because of its improved net neutrality law.
Trump Administration may not be efficient in anything else, but they sure are quick to file lawsuits against other states. The lawsuit was filed just hours after Governor of California Jerry Brown had signed the law.
On Sunday, senior officials from the Department of Justice explained Washington Post why it was filing the lawsuit. The reason for this drastic measure was so states couldn’t make up their own net neutrality laws.
The Department stated that only federal government can oversee net neutrality laws, and that power has been granted to the Federal Communications Commission by Congress. This is to ensure that states can’t pass conflicting legislation.
California passed Senate Bill 822 to ensure ISPs could not manipulate internet speeds or zero-rate certain content. The DOJ has other thoughts on this whole matter. It believes California is undermining their power.
The state is “attempting to subvert the Federal Government’s deregulatory approach by imposing burdensome state regulations on the free Internet which is unlawful and anti-consumer,” according to the DOJ.
The largest democratic state has been is several legal clashes with the Trump administration in the past. California has been sued over providing sanctuary to illegal immigrants, to prevent them from being deported.
The administration also sued California over a law that aims to prevent the Trump administration from selling or transferring federal lands to private companies.
It is also trying to fight California’s environmental protection policies.
The Senate Bill 822 was initiated by a Democratic member of the California State Senate, Scott Weiner to consolidate for the Obama era internet protection laws that were killed by FCC last year.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said “under the Constitution, states do not regulate interstate commerce—the federal government does. Once again the California legislature has enacted an extreme and illegal state law attempting to frustrate federal policy.”
He further added, “The Justice Department should not have to spend valuable time and resources to file this suit today, but we have a duty to defend the prerogatives of the federal government and protect our Constitutional order.”
Although states such as Oregon and Washington have also adopted their own net neutrality policies, California’s was the most comprehensive and closest to Obama’s original net neutrality policy.
California’s net neutrality bill was going to stop ISPs from throttling bandwidth, stop competitors’ websites from loading slower, and put an end to all sorts of zero-rating.
For those of you who don’t know, Zero-rating is the practice of providing the free internet with a lot of strings attached. These strings could be in the form of providing access to only certain limited websites or providing internet access with a lot of ads.
A lot of major telecom corporations such as Comcast, Verizon, and At&t lobbied to ruthlessly cut the life support of this bill. FCC Chairman, as usual, lied that this bill will harm customers’ freedom of information and freedom of choice.

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