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article imageMozilla sues the FCC in attempt to restore net neutrality

By James Walker     Jan 18, 2018 in Technology
Mozilla has filed a petition in the federal court of Washington DC in an attempt to overturn the FCC's repeal of net neutrality regulation. It said the web is a "global, public resource" that is dependent on net neutrality to exist in its current form.
Net neutrality became law in the U.S. in 2015 when Barack Obama introduced the Open Internet Order. Broadband Internet providers were reclassified as Title II "common carriers" under the Communications Act. They were previously considered to be Title I information service providers.
Due to their new classification as utility firms, Internet providers were banned from intentionally prioritising different online services. The Trump administration's repeal of the Open Internet Order, led by new FCC chairman Ajit Pai, means the companies are no longer governed by these rules. There is no defined legislation to prevent ISPs from accepting payments to prioritise certain online services above others.
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In a blog post this week, Mozilla claimed the loss of net neutrality could "end the Internet as we know it." It said it is committed to protesting the repeal and will be joining wider industry efforts to restore the old legislation.
"As we have said many times over the years, we'll keep fighting for the open Internet to ensure everyone has access to the entire Internet and do everything in our power to protect net neutrality," said Mozilla. "In addition to our court challenge, we are also taking steps to ask Congress and the courts to fix the broken policies."
"It is imperative that all Internet traffic be treated equally, without discrimination against content or type of traffic – that's how the Internet was built and what has made it one of the greatest inventions of all time."
Public interest groups and attorneys general from 22 U.S. states have also filed lawsuits challenging the FCC's net neutrality vote. They claim the FCC isn't permitted by the Administrative Procedure Act to change important policies such as net neutrality. The group also contends that the FCC's view of broadband as a Title I service is flawed and technically incorrect, an opinion also held by many Internet pioneers.
Mozilla acknowledged it has filed its lawsuit early. It could be rejected until after the FCC's vote has been published in the Federal Register, an event which hasn't yet occurred. However, the company said the importance of the debate has led it to file early in case a court decides the appropriate filing date has already passed. If the petition is rejected, it will be refiled at a later date after the FCC has published its decision.
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