New York plans to introduce net neutrality legislation. Activists will be ready to fight to make sure there are no loopholes for ISPs to abuse

Posted December 19, 2019, 4:58 PM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 19, 2019
Contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457, press@fightforthefuture.org

Today, New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced plans to introduce “the strongest net neutrality protections in the United States.” Leading digital rights group Fight for the Future, which has been behind the largest online protests for net neutrality in history, issued the following statement, which can be attributed to Deputy Director, Evan Greer (she/her):

“Net neutrality is coming back with a vengeance. When all is said and done, Comcast and Verizon will wish they had never picked this fight with the Internet.

Tens of millions of people from across the political spectrum have spoken out in support of net neutrality, the basic principle that protects free expression and fairness on the Internet. It’s encouraging to see New York state following the lead of California in pushing for strong protections at the state level. But we’ll need to see the bill text. 

With net neutrality policy, the devil is in the details. Comcast and Verizon employ an army of lawyers and lobbyists who will be pushing for loopholes or weaknesses they can exploit. In order to restore the protections that millions of people fought for in the 2015 Open Internet Order, state level legislation needs to include not only the bright line rules against blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization, but also the essential protections from the text of the order itself. 

The governors’ announcement is encouraging. It appears this bill would ban harmful zero rating practices, one of the sneakiest ways that ISPs are attempting to abuse their gatekeeper power and screw over consumers. It also appears that it would allow people to take their ISP to court over violations. But the press release does not mention anything about a general conduct rule that would allow officials to prevent ISP abuses, or protections surrounding interconnection agreements. We’ll look forward to learning more about the bill.

We’ll be watching this legislation closely, and will be prepared to mobilize our army of net neutrality supporters to fight for the strongest bill possible. We’ll also continue pushing at the Federal level for Congress to pass the Save the Internet Act, which would reverse the FCC’s reckless repeal and restore the common sense rules that never should have been taken away in the first place.”

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