Attorneys general in New York and other states on Tuesday sued the Federal Communications Commission over its recent vote to dismantle the net neutrality rules.
The attorneys general are asking the Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. to invalidate the FCC's so-called "Restoring Internet Freedom" order, which repealed the 2015 net neutrality rules. The law enforcement officials write that the FCC's repeal should be invalidated for several reasons, including that it was "arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion," and that it violates the Communications Act. The papers don't elaborate on the arguments.
“The repeal of net neutrality would turn internet service providers into gatekeepers – allowing them to put profits over consumers while controlling what we see, what we do, and what we say online," New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is leading the initiative, stated. “This would be a disaster for New York consumers and businesses, and for everyone who cares about a free and open internet."
Attorneys general from 20 other states and the District of Columbia joined in the legal challenge.
The FCC voted 3-2 last month to repeal rules that prohibited broadband carriers from blocking or throttling online traffic and from charging companies higher fees for prioritized delivery. Critics of that move say net neutrality rules are necessary to prevent carriers from discriminating against competitors and small companies that can't afford high fees for fast-lane service.
The repeal won't take effect until 60 days after the order is published in the Federal Register, which has not happened yet. Given that the repeal hasn't yet been published, the suit may be premature. The attorneys general state in the legal papers that they are filing the suit now -- as opposed to waiting for publication in the Federal Register -- "out of an abundance of caution."
Net neutrality proponents Free Press and Public Knowledge filed similar lawsuits Tuesday.