Big Wireless Companies Think It’s Their First Amendment Right To Mess With Your Internet

Big Wireless Companies Think It’s Their First Amendment Right To Mess With Your Internet

AT&T and the other Internet delivery monopolies that are suing the FCC have resurrected the argument, used unsuccessfully by Verizon in 2012, that net neutrality rules violate its First and Fifth Amendment rights.

The move marks the all out offensive the giant internet service providers are launching against the FCC’s new net neutrality rules, which prevent internet access companies from charging tolls to websites you access most often.

AT&T said last week that it plans on challenging whether the FCC’s net neutrality order “violates the terms of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and the First and Fifth Amendments to the US Constitution.”

Showing just how it is grasping at straws and trying every dirty trick in the book to undo the consumer-friendly legislation, the First and Fifth Amendments will be used to attack the FCC’s decision to reclassify both fixed and mobile broadband as common carrier services, as well as the FCC’s authority over how ISPs interconnect with other networks.

While the internet monopolists didn’t provide the full reasoning in their filings, Verizon claimed in 2012 that net neutrality “violates the First Amendment by stripping [ISPs] of control over the transmission of speech on their networks. And it takes network owners’ property without compensation by mandating that they turn over those networks for the occupation and use of others at a regulated rate of zero, undermining owners’ multi-billion dollar-backed expectations that they would be able to decide how best to employ their networks to serve consumers and deterring network investment.”

While the First Amendment protects freedom of speech, the Fifth says that “[n]o person shall be… deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

Given record profits by the giant ISPs, who enjoy lack of competition due to cozy relationships with regulators, it is clear that they are obviously being deprived of life, liberty and property.

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