Six major tech companies, joining the legal battle over net neutrality, announced plans today to sue the US Federal Communications Commission.
Foursquare, Etsy, Expa, Shutterstock, Kickstarter and Automattic, which owns WordPress.com, said they would challenge the FCC's new order overturning net neutrality protections in court. Under a nonprofit called the Coalition for Internet Openness, the companies said they filed a petition with the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit today requesting the court review the FCC's decision.
In December, the commission's Republican majority voted to rollback net neutrality rules that had prohibited broadband service providers from blocking or throttling content or creating "fast lanes" to provider better service to companies that pay for it.
"We believe that everyone has the right to access information on places, spaces and people, and that business leaders and brands need to be able to interpret trends and patterns as they truly exist," said Marc Ellenbogen, Foursquare's chief compliance officer and general counsel.
US Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the leader of the Democrats in the upper chamber of Congress, is very concerned about what will happen to screwing once the Federal Communications Commission puts its new rules enabling ISPs to violate net neutrality principles into effect in a little under two months.
The coalition joins a slew of other tech companies that announced lawsuits against the FCC late last month, including Mozilla, the nonprofit organisation that maintains the Firefox web browser, and the video-sharing website Vimeo.
On February 22, a coalition of 23 state attorneys general challenged the FCC in the DC Circuit, alleging the new order violated US federal law, including the Communications Act of 1934. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who led the coalition, accused the FCC of putting "corporate profits over consumers" by giving broadband providers the ability to control what their customers "see, do and say online".
Multiple public interest groups, including Free Press, Public Knowledge and New America's Open Technology Institute have likewise filed petitions challenging the FCC order.
"The fight for net neutrality is the fight for civil liberties, and a more vibrant culture," said Candace Martin, commercial counsel for Kickstarter. "Without it, the free and equal exchange of ideas is at risk."