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Etsy, Kickstarter among tech giants suing FCC over net neutrality

They join 21 states that filed suit earlier this year.


Phillip Tracy


Posted on Mar 6, 2018   Updated on May 21, 2021, 10:37 pm CDT

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) may have repealed net neutrality in a controversial vote last year, but the rules protecting the internet’s freedom aren’t going down without a fight. Here to help are six major technology companies that are taking the FCC to court.

Etsy, Expa, Kickstarter, Automattic, Foursquare, and Shutterstock grouped to file a petition on Monday against the FCC’s vote to rollback net neutrality protections. They join 21 states that filed a lawsuit against the agency earlier this year.

In December, the FCC voted 3 to 2 across party lines to repeal net neutrality, Obama-era rules that ensured all internet traffic be treated equally by internet service providers (ISPs). Without the guidelines in place, people fear ISPs will create internet fast lanes that favor some websites over others in exchange for compensation. This would theoretically benefit established companies like Google and Facebook since they have the resources to pay ISPs to throttle rival sites.

“Etsy is filing this petition on behalf of the 1.9 million creative entrepreneurs who sell goods on our platform and depend on strong net neutrality protections to build their businesses and compete online,” Althea Erickson, Etsy’s head of advocacy and impact, said in the filing. “The courts need to hear from the people who will be harmed the most under the FCC’s unprecedented attack on net neutrality.”

Filed in the D.C. District Court of Appeals, the petition stems from the Coalition of Internet Openness, a nonprofit advocating for a “legal environment that preserves and extends the openness of the Internet.”

“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,” Marc Ellenbogen, general counsel and chief compliance officer for Foursquare, said in a statement.

Individual states have taken matters into their own hands in the past few months, signing executive orders that essentially reinstate net neutrality laws by preventing contracted ISPs from charging more for faster speeds to certain websites. Initiated by Montana state governor Steve Bullock, governors in Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont have sicne followed suit. Earlier today, Washington became the first state to approve its own set of net neutrality laws. As states work to circumvent the repeal, Democrats are fighting to overturn the ruling in the Senate.

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*First Published: Mar 6, 2018, 1:40 pm CST