New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is as unhappy with net neutrality’s repeal as the rest of everyday America.
The state’s top prosecutor announced Thursday that he’d launch a lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission, aiming to block agency chairman Ajit Pai’s contentious vote.
“The FCC just gave Big Telecom an early Christmas present, by giving internet service providers yet another way to put corporate profits over consumers,” said Schneiderman in a statement.
According to The Hill, Schneiderman hasn’t kept his feelings on Pai’s net neutrality plan secret. The high-profile attorney general collaborated with several of his colleagues, as well as members of Congress, to investigate millions of ‘fake comments’ posted to the FCC’s website.
Prior to scheduling a vote on the future of an open and free Internet, the FCC requested members of the public to share their opinion on the agency’s website.
Comments flooded in, both from supporters and detractors of Pai’s hopeful repeal. But government officials say at least two million of the posts were counterfeit, made using the identities of unsuspecting American citizens. A hefty portion of the fraudulent comments originated had accounts or contacts associated with Russian e-mail addresses.
The issue of net neutrality has been especially contentious in large online communities, with grassroots activists desperately trying to compile petition lists and raise awareness of the consequences of its repeal.
“Today’s new rule would enable ISPs to charge consumers more to access sites like Facebook and Twitter and give them leverage to degrade [the] high-quality of video streaming until and unless someone pays them more money. Even worse, today’s vote would enable ISPs to favor certain viewpoints over others,” Schneiderman railed in a public statement.
So far, Schneiderman has support from fellow Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who issued a similar statement on Thursday while announcing his intention to sue the FCC over its repeal.
Yesterday’s vote on the so-called “Restoring Internet Freedom Order” was split entirely along party lines.
Republican Ajit Pai and two conservative members of the Federal Communications Commission board voted to repeal Obama-era net neutrality rules, while two Democrats insisted on keeping them in place.
Pai’s position – a common one for a plethora of anti-consumer conservative causes – is that lifting restrictions on internet service providers would encourage them to provide cheaper and faster connections.
However, American consumers are currently saddled with some of the most expensive data and broadband rates in the developed world. In the United States, internet subscribers tend to pay more for less than their European and East Asian counterparts, both in terms of mobile data and grounded internet connections.
Ajit Pai is a former Verizon executive who has been outspoken about net neutrality for years.