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What we learned from the big day of net neutrality in court



Within five hours in Washington, the DC court today, a coalition of net neutrality defenders came with the Federal Communications Commission, as the two sides did their case for and against the Internet Regulations.

The dispute is one of the most profiled legal battles in the history of the Internet, but there was no immediate sign of how the Judge Panel would monitor the case. In succession, both sides met a sharp question mark from the judges of the US District Court of Appeal.

The proponents of the case claimed that the FCC's abolition was illegal in several ways. The FCC failed in the analysis of the Internet service market, failed to consider public security, should not have blocked states from transferring their own neutrality rules, and failed by deciding what a telecommunications service is, they said.

Some of these battles seemed to land while others fell flat. The FCC changed the legal classification of broadband service when it repealed the rules, and that decision is a key issue. But it was difficult to see if the judges were hovered by the argument there. The analyzes used to explain the different types of Internet services became increasingly complex: was the FCC treating the Internet as a pizza, as it was more like a pizza delivery service? a lawyer for the petitioners asked. And was modern internet service more like Uber Eats?

However, the public security argument appeared to be an important point in the hearing. The FCC received a sharp interrogation from one of the judges, who repeatedly asked how the agency's decision could affect the first respondents. Santa Clara County, who appeared in court to defend the neutrality rules, noted that the repeal may not be enough to resolve a crisis. (Last year, the county made headlines over a throttle accident during a California fire service.)

If someone is slammed during a crisis, the court noted that there is hardly anyone being penalized much later. "Post-hoc remedies do not work in the public security situation and, unless I missed it, were not addressed anywhere in the order," the judge said.

The main focus of the FCC in the hearing was that the net neutrality rules damaged broadband investments and that the repeal improved the market ̵

1; an analysis that the petitioners strongly reject. A lawyer representing internet service providers also claimed that there was not enough evidence of damages and blocking to show that the neutrality rules were necessary. The Agency's side repeatedly claimed that transparency requirements were an effective way of protecting consumers.

The court can be attached to the case for a long time. Nevertheless, even though the participants used the language of a high technical legal dispute, the face was one of the more dramatic moments in the struggle for net neutrality.

"Today, we fought for an open and free internet that puts consumers first," said Mozilla boss Denelle Dixon in a statement. "Mozilla took on this challenge because we think the FCC must follow the rules like everyone else." The FCC, the statement said, had decided to "renounce its responsibility to protect consumers on a whim."

"The US Supreme Court has already confirmed the FCC's authority to classify broadband as a Title I information service," said Food Manager, Matthew Berry, in a statement. "And, by today's argument, we continue to believe the courts will maintain FCCs A decision to return to the rules that the Internet flourishes before 2015 and continues to thrive today. "

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, who voted against the decision to abolish network neutrality rules, said in a tweet that there was" no lack of complex problems in oral argument "but that" the court now has one chance to correct what the FCC has wrong "with its decision." I put it all, "she wrote." I'm hopeful. "

Update, 16:52 ET: Includes statement by the FCC. [19659016]
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