Corporations are people and corporations DO have 1st amendment rights according to the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling … so – who knows which way the wind will blow on this. With five conservative judges who have a school boy crush for the rights of corporations … it is entirely possible the most conservative Supreme Court in modern history will rule in the favor of Verizon.
The net-neutrality rules established by the FCC came down to a party line vote where the 2 Republicans on the commission voted against the rules and the 3 Democrats on the committee ruled in favor. They were supposed to be a compromise … for wireless customers – wireless carriers would be able to charge more for users who used more data due to limitations with the wireless spectrum and how much data can slow down the network.
For customers with internet access at home – the rules stipulated that companies can not charge consumers more for heavy data usage nor play favorites with what companies it would like to authorize. Well – Verizon believes it is their first amendment right to slow down traffic from Netflix but speed up traffic from Hulu or vice-versa depending on who is willing to pay them more. Or maybe you like to play XBOX or PS3 online … that takes bandwith and Verizon thinks it is their first amendment right to throttle your data usage at home if you’re using too much.
The Hill explains Verizon’s decision to challenge FCC net-neutrality rules in court HERE:
The D.C. Court of Appeals, which is hearing Verizon’s challenge, ruled against the FCC when it tried to enforce the principle of net neutrality against Comcast in 2010. That setback led the FCC to enact its current regulation later that year.
In Monday’s filing, Verizon argued that instead of “proceeding with caution” in light of the Comcast ruling, the FCC adopted rules that “go even farther than its prior action and impose dramatic new restrictions on broadband Internet access service providers.”
The company also argued the rules violate the Fifth Amendment by forcing broadband network owners to allow others to use their private property for free.
MetroPCS is also suing the FCC over the rules and joined in many of Verizon’s arguments.
PC World says Verizon could be pushing their luck HERE:
There are a couple major flaws in the argument. First, an individual’s right to free speech shouldn’t apply equally to a corporation. I’m not a Constitutional scholar nor a legal expert, but it seems to me that a corporation can say what it chooses as a function of the fact that the people actually saying it have an individual right to free speech. However, the corporation as an entity doesn’t necessarily enjoy that same right, and—in fact—the corporation’s right to free speech is already limited by rules governing false advertising or mandates to include specific text or warnings on products.
Second, the FCC net neutrality rules don’t actually inhibit an ISP’s ability to express itself freely. Under the FCC rules, Verizon is free to publish whatever content it chooses–it simply can’t block or discriminate against other content as a matter of business practice.
The fact of the matter is the vast majority of the data traversing the ISP’s network (like Verizon) doesn’t belong to the ISP in the first place. An argument could be made that by throttling or blocking traffic Verizon is actually the party guilty of stepping on the First Amendment rights of others.
The Department of Justice is investigating various cable companies for violations of net-neutrality rules which we wrote about HERE. The rules state:
The rules would require broadband providers to let subscribers access all legal online content, applications and services over their wired networks — including online calling services, Internet video and other Web applications that compete with their core businesses.
But the plan would give broadband providers flexibility to manage data on their systems to deal with problems such as network congestion and unwanted traffic like spam as long as they publicly disclose their network management practices.
Senior FCC officials stressed that unreasonable network discrimination would be prohibited.
They also noted that this category would most likely include services that favor traffic from the broadband providers themselves or traffic from business partners that can pay for priority. That language was added to help ease the concerns of Genachowski’s two fellow Democrats.
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