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Twenty-two states ask US appeals court to reinstate ‘net neutrality’ rules

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A group of 22 state attorneys general and the District of Columbia late Monday asked a U.S. appeals court to reinstate the Obama administration’s 2015 landmark net neutrality rules and reject the Trump administration’s efforts to preempt states from imposing their own rules guaranteeing an open internet.

The states, led by New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood, filed a lawsuit in January after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted in December along party lines to reverse rules that barred internet service providers from blocking or throttling traffic or offering paid fast lanes, also known as paid prioritization.

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Several internet companies filed a separate legal challenge on Monday to overturn the FCC ruling, including Mozilla Corp, Vimeo Inc, Etsy Inc, and numerous media and technology advocacy groups.

The FCC handed sweeping new powers to internet providers to recast how Americans use the internet — as long as they disclose any changes. The new rules took effect in early June but major providers have made no changes in internet access.

The states argue the FCC reversal will harm consumers.

The states also suggested the FCC failed to identify any “valid authority” for preempting state and local laws that would protect net neutrality.

Governors in six states have signed executive orders on net neutrality, while three states have enacted net neutrality legislation.

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FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has repeatedly said he believes the rules will be upheld and will encourage additional investment by providers. A spokesman for Pai did not immediately comment late Monday.

The revised rules were a win for internet service providers, like Comcast Corp, AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications Inc, whose practices faced significant government oversight and FCC investigations under the 2015 order, but the rules were opposed by internet firms like Facebook Inc, Amazon.com Inc and Alphabet Inc.

The FCC failed to offer a “meaningful defense of its decision to uncritically accept industry promises that are untethered to any enforcement mechanism,” the states said.

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The U.S. Senate voted in May to keep the Obama-era internet rules, but the measure is unlikely to be approved by the House of Representatives or the White House.

The state attorney generals suing represent states with 165 million people — more than half the United States population — and include California, Illinois, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

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The states argue the FCC action could harm public safety, citing electrical grids as an example. They argue “the absence of open internet rules jeopardizes the ability to reduce load in times of extreme energy grid stress. Consequently, the order threatens the reliability of the electric grid.”

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Lisa Shumaker


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Neo-Nazi arrested by FBI in terror plot before his comrades tried to kill him for being ‘stupid’ and ‘incompetent’: report

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On Saturday, CBC News reported that several members of a white supremacist group called The Base have been arrested in Georgia and Wisconsin. This comes one day after another set of raids in Maryland and Delaware that caught Patrik Mathews, a former reservist from Manitoba who crossed into the United States illegally and has been missing for five months after being accused of recruiting for the extremist group.

One new key detail came out about Mathews in an affidavit used to secure the arrest warrants for Mathews' alleged compatriots, according to the CBC: "Although the document suggests the group member believed to be Mathews stayed with a Georgia cell member for months, he is later reportedly characterized as 'incompetent' and 'stupid' and is seen as a liability to the local group. In fact, he eventually becomes a new potential murder target."

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WATCH: Trump lawyer Pam Bondi brushes off her meeting with Lev Parnas during NBC grilling

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During an interview with NBC News' "Today" on Saturday, Pam Bondi, the former attorney general of Florida and one of the lawyers representing President Donald Trump in impeachment matters, dismissed the photograph released by House Democrats that shows her with indicted Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas.

"Clearly, Lev Parnas liked to take pictures with a lot of people," said Bondi unconcernedly. "He showed up at events pretty much everywhere where Republicans were."

Asked about Trump's relationship with Parnas, she added, "I don't know what that matters, what they're planning on doing with it. We're going to stick to the facts and stick to the law in this case."

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Trump will face uphill battle discrediting Parnas after so many other aides ended up in jail: columnist

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Writing for The New York Times, columnist Michelle Goldberg pointed out that President Donald Trump could have a difficult time trying to discredit indicted Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas as untrustworthy in his allegations about the Ukraine scheme — because his sleaziness and disrepute is the whole reason that he was so useful to Trump's team in the first place.

"Now that Lev Parnas, a key conspirator in Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani’s plot to shake down Ukraine, is singing, Trump’s defenders are pointing out that he is a disreputable person who can’t be trusted," wrote Goldberg. "'This is a man who is under indictment and who’s actually out on bail. This is a man who owns a company called Fraud Inc.,' the White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, said on Fox News, the only network on which she regularly appears. (Parnas's company was actually called Fraud Guarantee, though that’s not any better.)"

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