ActivismSurveillance

Public Knowledge Responds to AT&T’s Call for “Internet Bill of Rights”

Today, AT&T placed full-page advertisements in various papers urging Congress to pass an “Internet Bill of Rights” to “provide consistent rules of the road for all internet companies.” Public Knowledge contends that Americans had strong, consistent net neutrality rules until Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai repealed them, and finds AT&T’s vague commitments insufficient for a bill.

The following can be attributed to Chris Lewis, Vice President of Public Knowledge:

“Public Knowledge is glad when AT&T, or any company, commits to supporting net neutrality and strong consumer protections online. Unfortunately, their approach isn’t enough and fails to support the most immediate solution — reinstating the 2015 net neutrality rules. Congress can accomplish this by using the Congressional Review Act to overturn the recent FCC net neutrality repeal. The 2015 rules were working, popular, and were upheld in court twice. Burger King’s new video demonstrates how the American public is likely to be ripped off now that we’ve lost these rules.

“In the long run, a permanent law must do much more than what AT&T calls for. It must not only protect net neutrality, but also empower the FCC to protect other critical consumer protections that many Americans expect and take for granted, until they are gone. Already, the FCC has removed some of these protections, from clear privacy rules for broadband providers, to sufficient notice when your only local provider discontinues service, to strong subsidies for low-income Americans so they can afford essential internet access.

“Broadband is the essential communications network of the 21st century and so we must protect Americans on it as we have with other networks. This includes accessibility for the disabled and protections from price gouging. This means providing universal service and preventing redlining that discriminates against rural or low-income communities. In the past, crafting such a comprehensive update of communications law has taken several years. Although advocates like Public Knowledge are ready to work with legislators on this difficult task, first things first. Congress should take the simple step of overturning the FCC net neutrality repeal so Americans have this basic protection while they wait for Congress to tackle the many-year challenge of crafting comprehensive legislation.”

This article was originally published by Public Knowledge, written by Shevia Stella.

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