New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Thursday he intends to lead a multistate lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over its decision to roll back net neutrality regulations.
“The FCC just gave Big Telecom an early Christmas present,” Schneiderman said of the decision, which would allow internet providers to give certain web content preferential treatment.
Schneiderman framed the FCC’s decision as an attack on “the integrity of every American’s voice in government” and New Yorkers’ right to a “free and open internet”:
Today’s rollback will give ISPs new ways to control what we see, what we do, and what we say online. That’s a threat to the free exchange of ideas that’s made the Internet a valuable asset in our democratic process.
Today’s new rule would enable ISPs to charge consumers more to access sites like Facebook and Twitter and give them the leverage to degrade high quality of video streaming until and unless somebody pays them more money. Even worse, today’s vote would enable ISPs to favor certain viewpoints over others.
New Yorkers deserve the right to a free and open Internet. That’s why we will sue to stop the FCC’s illegal rollback of net neutrality.
While it’s unclear which states will join New York, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller indicated he was considering it:
Our office will consult with other state attorneys general in the wake of the FCC’s decision to repeal #NetNeutrality. It’s likely there will be a multistate legal challenge.
— IA Attorney General (@AGIowa) December 14, 2017
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai defended the decision, suggesting the internet was fine before the federal government implemented the regulations.
“The internet wasn’t broken in 2015. We were not living in some digital dystopia,” Pai said. “The main problem consumers have with the internet is not and has never been that their internet provider is blocking access to content. It’s been that they don’t have access at all.”
Schneiderman alleged the net neutrality’s public comment process was “deeply corrupted,” with millions of comments made under stolen identities. His office claimed he found more than hundreds of thousands of those comments in New York, Florida, Texas and California.