While everybody was fixated on Orlando terror attack, federal government pulls another power grab

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In what amounts to a Trojan horse for more control over Americans’ lives, a federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld the Obama administration’s net neutrality rules.

With America still coming to grips with the worst shooting in U.S. history in Orlando, Fla., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit handed President Obama a big win by ruling in favor of more government control over the internet.

U.S. News & World Report reported:

A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld the government’s net neutrality rules that aim to prevent internet providers from favoring some types of web traffic over others, handing a victory to the Obama administration and a rebuke to Republicans who almost universally oppose the rules.

The long-awaited decision by the panel of three judges at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected a challenge to regulations approved by the Federal Communications Commission last year.

The rules forbid service providers from blocking or slowing the traffic of their rivals or from taking unfair advantage of their large market share to charge websites extra for priority traffic speeds, which could disadvantage startups and smaller companies.

 

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit included AT&T, the American Cable Association and CenturyLink, who argued that some of the net neutrality rules violate the First Amendment, U.S. News reported.

But the court disagreed, saying said that “because a broadband provider does not – and is not understood by users to – ‘speak’ when providing neutral access to internet content as common carriage, the First Amendment poses no bar to the open internet rules.”

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler was quick to champion what amounts to another big government power grab.

“Today’s ruling is a victory for consumers and innovators who deserve unfettered access to the entire web, and it ensures the internet remains a platform for unparalleled innovation, free expression and economic growth,” Wheeler said in a statement.

U.S. Sen. Steven Daines, R-Mont., denounced Tuesday’s ruling in support of government overreach, calling it “abhorrent.”

“This decision is an affront to hard-working Americans who rely on the internet for economic opportunity and access to critical communication services,” Daines said in a statement. “Net neutrality remains a solution in search of a problem that kills jobs, chills innovation and slows investment. I will continue working in the U.S. Senate to maintain a free and open internet to rein in the Obama administration’s regulatory overreach.”

The court battle over net neutrality rules is expected to continue.

“This is unlikely the last step in this decade-long debate over internet regulation,” the National Cable & Telecommunications Association said in a statement.

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