Hawaii Joins Multistate Net Neutrality Lawsuit

Attorney General Douglas Chin has joined a coalition of 22 other state attorney generals in a lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission's recent rollback of Obama-era Internet protections.

by Nina Wu, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser / January 17, 2018
Three of these smiling faces undid U.S. consumer protections online. Federal Communications Commision

(TNS) — Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin has joined a multi-state lawsuit to block the Federal Communications Commission’s rollback of net neutrality.

The coalition, which includes 22 state attorneys general, filed a petition to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today, formally commencing the lawsuit against the FCC and the federal government.

“Big business must not be deciding what people in Hawaii can access on the Internet and how easily we can access it,” said Chin in a press release. “This lawsuit challenges the rushed attempt, riddled with irregularities, by the Trump Administration to rollback net neutrality.”

The repeal of net neutrality would have dire consequences for consumers and businesses in Hawaii that rely on a free and open internet, according to Chin, by allowing internet service providers to block certain content, charge consumers more to access certain sites, and throttle or slow the quality of content from content providers that don’t pay more.

Under the Administrative Procedure Act, the petition states, the FCC cannot make “arbitrary and capricious” changes to existing policies, such as net neutrality.

“The FCC’s new rule fails to justify its departure from its long-standing policy and practice of defending net neutrality, while misinterpreting and disregarding critical record evidence on industry practices and harm to consumers and businesses. Moreover, the rule wrongly reclassifies broadband internet as a Title I information service, rather than a Title II telecommunications service, based on an erroneous interpretation of the Telecommunications Act. Finally, the rule improperly includes sweeping preemption of state and local laws.”

The lawsuit is led by New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, and joined by the Attorneys General of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and the District of Columbia.

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