Fight for Net Neutrality

Civil society won’t back down: the fight for net neutrality continues in California

Yesterday, Access Now, Free Press, Public Knowledge, New America’s Open Technology Institute, and Mozilla Corporation filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit supporting California’s robust net neutrality law (SB 822). California passed its law in the wake of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) net neutrality repeal in 2018. 

Internet service providers (ISPs) oppose SB 822, which grants California residents the best net neutrality protections in the United States. In the lower court, where civil society filed a similar brief, ISPs were dealt a blow when District Judge Mendez ruled that broadband providers cannot prevent the state from enforcing its net neutrality law. Judge Mendez expressed strong skepticism that SB 822 would hurt ISPs, and allowed the law to go into effect.  

The newly filed amicus brief describes what is at stake if the 9th Circuit were to prevent enforcement of SB 822. Among other arguments, the brief debunks industry’s claims that ISPs do not currently violate net neutrality (they do).

“After being handed a decisive loss, it is no wonder industry is grasping at straws in this appeal,” said Eric Null, U.S. Policy Manager at Access Now. “Judge Mendez didn’t buy their arguments that SB 822 would cause harm, and neither should the 9th Circuit. Our brief provides important context that will help the court avoid getting duped by industry’s tall tales.”

Net neutrality rules are essential to ensure unfettered access to online content without undue corporate interference. Without them, freedom of speech and human agency are gravely compromised.