[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official website] said on Monday that it will not reconsider its ruling to uphold the government’s “net neutrality” rules [fact sheet, PDF] that require internet providers to treat all online traffic equally. This means that the rules put in place by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) [official website] under former President Obama will remain in place for the time being. Last year [JURIST report], a three-judge panel ruled [opinion, PDF] 2-1 to uphold regulations that bar service providers from favoring [AP report] certain content or allow rival video-streaming companies to pay more money for faster streaming. In its decision, the appeals court likened Internet service providers to utilities, saying that they should act as “neutral, indiscriminate platforms for transmission of speech.” Service providers asked the court to revisit this decision, but the court declined to do so. The FCC under President Donald Trump, who has indicated his intent to remove this Obama-era policy, could refuse to enforce the rules or change the rules completely.
Net neutrality [JURIST backgrounder] has emerged as a major political issue in the US and internationally. In 2014, the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruled [opinion] that the FCC did not have authority to enforce the entire Open Internet Order 2010. Instead, the order could only be applied to common carriers. Earlier this year, more than 170 organizations [JURIST report] signed a letter urging the FCC to preserve net neutrality. In April of 2014, the European Parliament approved a proposal that prohibited Internet service providers (ISPs) from enhancing or restricting services for selected Internet traffic. The law aimed to treat all Internet traffic equally by making it illegal to block, slow down or give preferential treatment to certain specific applications and services for economic or other reasons.