IIA Criticizes Senate Vote To Reinstate Title II Protections

The Internet Innovation Alliance criticized this week's Senate vote to reinstate Title II net neutrality protections, having described the move as not being in the best interest of consumers. The coalition whose members include AT&T and The American Conservative Union is arguing that a return to the 2015 net neutrality model would have a negative effect on people's privacy as it would eliminate the watchdog role of the Federal Trade Commission meant to ensure that Internet service providers are honoring their privacy protections required by the new ruleset approved by the Federal Communications Commission in mid-December.

The polarizing net neutrality repeal still hasn't entered force and will only do so some three weeks from now, according to the Federal Register. In the meantime, this week's vote held under the Congressional Review Act will be subjected to another vote from the House which is unlikely to pass; even with the support from every Democrat in the parliamentary body, 22 Republican representatives would have to sign the act as well. In an unlikely scenario in which both houses approve the reversal, President Trump would still have to sign it, with the U.S. chief previously signaling he'd use his power of a legislative veto to prevent the 2015 net neutrality protections from being reinstated.

The Senate vote won't lead to "additional protections for America’s consumers," an IIA spokesperson said in an emailed statement. The coalition previously said it supports a federal open Internet law, having argued for regulations that don't define ISPs as utility providers in a monopoly-style manner. IIA is now calling for a federal intervention that's bipartisan in nature and forbids blocking and throttling of "legitimate online content," as well as content-based censorship or any other form of discrimination. AT&T and a number of other players in the industry have been advocating for similar legislation in recent times, though none of them want to see paid prioritization outlawed, which Title II proponents claim is one of the most realistic dangers of a lack of net neutrality as it allows ISPs to demand money from consumers, websites, or both, in order to provide faster access to certain domains, which critics argue is just a differently worded description of throttling.

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