Justice Department drops net neutrality suit against California

The Biden administration retracted the Trump-era legal action that challenged the state’s pro-net neutrality legislation

The US government signalled a significant U-turn in its net neutrality approach after dropping a legal case against California.

In Eastern California District Court, the Biden administration retracted the Trump-era legal action that challenged the state’s pro-net neutrality legislation.

Net neutrality forbids telecommunications companies from treating network traffic differently based on its type or its origin. It was a longstanding principle underpinning the internet, which the Obama administration officially regulated in 2015. 

In 2017, under the Trump administration, former FCC chairman Ajit Pai overturned that regulation, striking down the net neutrality rules and enabling telcos to discern between different types of internet traffic.

California passed its own legislation, SB 822, in 2018 aimed at reintroducing net neutrality laws in the state. The Department of Justice (DoJ) then launched a lawsuit against the state, claiming its legislation contradicted the FCC's ruling and the state didn't have the right to decide telecommunications policy.

SB 822 was supposed to come into effect on January 1, 2019, but Attorney General Xavier Becerra agreed to stay the legislation while a Washington, DC court decided on a case brought against the FCC by Mozilla, Vimeo, and 22 states objecting to the Commission's net neutrality rollback. The court ruled in the FCC's favor in October 2019.

The DoJ responded to a judicial query, officially dropping its case against California on Monday, prompting new FCC chairwoman, Jessica Rosenworcel, to issue a formal statement.

"I am pleased that the Department of Justice has withdrawn this lawsuit. When the FCC, over my objection, rolled back its net neutrality policies, states like California sought to fill the void with their own laws," she said. "By taking this step, Washington is listening to the American people, who overwhelmingly support an open internet, and is charting a course to once again make net neutrality the law of the land."

California still has some work ahead of it before it can enforce its proposed legislation, though. It faces litigation from other parties: the American Cable Association, the CTIA wireless trade association, the Internet & Television Association, and the United States Telecom Association (USTelecom).

Featured Resources

Next-generation time series: Forecasting for the real world, not the ideal world

Solve time series problems with AI

Free download

The future of productivity

Driving your business forward with Microsoft Office 365

Free download

How to plan for endpoint security against ever-evolving cyber threats

Safeguard your devices, data, and reputation

Free download

A quantitative comparison of UPS monitoring and servicing approaches across edge environments

Effective UPS fleet management

Free download

Recommended

FCC expels China Telecom from the US
Network & Internet

FCC expels China Telecom from the US

27 Oct 2021
US State Department to establish cyber bureau
cyber security

US State Department to establish cyber bureau

26 Oct 2021
30 countries announce crackdown on ransomware payments
ransomware

30 countries announce crackdown on ransomware payments

15 Oct 2021
Senators seek to reform Section 230 protections
Policy & legislation

Senators seek to reform Section 230 protections

14 Oct 2021

Most Popular

Best Linux distros 2021
operating systems

Best Linux distros 2021

11 Oct 2021
Apple MacBook Pro 15in vs Dell XPS 15: Clash of the titans
Laptops

Apple MacBook Pro 15in vs Dell XPS 15: Clash of the titans

11 Oct 2021
Cryptocurrency: Should you invest?
cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrency: Should you invest?

27 Oct 2021