Washington becomes first state to pass law protecting net neutrality

Paul Tong  Op-Art

Jay Inslee signed a bill that restores a hotly debated-and recently repealed-set of protections for Internet users in the state.

This makes Washington State the first one to defy the FCC's net neutrality repeal crusade, in open contradiction with the White House administration's efforts.

But: As the Verge notes the FCC actually chose to prohibit states from introducing their own laws like this. He added that states have full right to protect their citizens. In fact, lawmakers in some two dozen states have introduced bills similar to Washington's, while numerous governors, including those that serve in NY and Montana, have signed executive actions that prevent ISPs with state contracts from blocking or slowing data. But Oregon's measure wouldn't put any new requirements on internet providers.

"This is not a partisan issue", Republican representative Norma Smith, one of the bill's co-sponsors, said in an earlier statement.

"Internet service providers can not be allowed to substitute their money-motivated judgment on how you spend your time online", said Sarah Bird, CEO of Seattle-based search engine optimization company Moz.

The Internet Association, a lobbying group representing tech giants like Google, Amazon, and Facebook, is not directly suing the FCC, but will still file arguments in other lawsuits against the FCC as an "intervener". The tone-deaf celebration was a pretty hollow attention seeking move, but was also an ouroboros of blistering idiocy. "Yet somehow, as if by magic, that same statute gives them the authority to preempt state attempts to regulate standards of conduct on the internet". The Washington Post piece is fair-minded, to be sure, but it's worth noting that nothing can truly be known on this score until FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's repeal of net neutrality rules goes into effect. The law will go into effect June 6.

The governors of Montana, New York, New Jersey, Hawaii, and Vermont have signed executive orders banning state agencies from doing business with broadband providers that don't promise to uphold the principles of net neutrality.

According to the law, Internet service providers (ISPs) in Washington must "publicly disclose information regarding the network management practices, performance characteristics, and commercial terms of its broadband Internet access services". 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.

Some states are passing their own laws.

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