Last week, a federal appeals court in DC upheld the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) decision to rollback internet regulations put in place by the previous Administration. This is a victory for consumers, innovation and an open internet. Still, the decision handed down in DC is just the latest in a series of legal challenges, reversals and back-and-forth policy proposals.
For example, the court ruled in its decision that the FCC overstepped its authority by preemptively stopping state and local governments from writing their own internet regulations, essentially ensuring this debate that has already been going on for over sixteen years will drag out for many more years to come in state capitals and courtrooms nationwide.
In truth, the rolled-back rules were another attempt to apply a law written for the 1930s telephone system to the internet. This outdated law will always fall short of the intended goal of protecting modern consumers by only applying to internet service providers while ignoring the major internet companies like Google and Facebook.
A quick skim of the headlines shows what an outsized role the dominant internet companies play in determining the security, content and services consumers have today. Combined with the lack of transparency regarding how these large companies use the personal information they collect to influence what we see and do online, rules that leave them completely unaccountable will further entrench their gatekeeper status.
The only way to truly protect an open internet now and for generations to come is for Congress to go back to the drawing board and draft modern legislation that addresses our modern problems. We need a single, nationwide open internet standard that applies to all internet companies and equally protects all internet users.
Congress must work together to draft and pass new federal legislation that holds everyone accountable–internet service providers as well as major internet companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, and others–to the same open internet rules while preserving an environment that encourages innovation and investment.
Members of our community are fortunate to lead in the rate of technology adoption and internet usage. Maintaining unfettered access to digital products and services is essential to ensuring that AAPI individuals can benefit from the boundless opportunities that an open internet offers. This is why it is so incredibly important that we have national open internet rules in place that bolster AAPI consumers’ confidence in their safety and security across the entire internet ecosystem.