US Senate votes 52-47 to preserve net neutrality

News by Teri Robinson

After the US Federal Communications Commission voted earlier this year to get rid of net neutrality, the US Senate passed the Congressional Review Act discharge resolution meant to preserve it.

After the US Federal Communications Commission voted earlier this year to get rid of net neutrality, the US Senate on Wednesday passed the Congressional Review Act discharge resolution meant to preserve it.

Calling the US Senate's 52-47 vote “a historic victory for the free and open Internet, and a major step forward for the future of free expression and democracy,” Evan Greer, Fight for the Future deputy director, said in a statement, “Now that the CRA resolution has passed the Senate, every House member has a choice to make: Will they side with some of the most hated companies in America, or will they listen to the overwhelming majority of their constituents and small businesses in their districts, and vote to keep the Internet free from censorship, throttling, and expensive new fees?"

The National Hispanic Media Coalition applauded the US Senate for listening to its constituents. "Today the Senate puts us one step closer towards preserving the strong FCC Net Neutrality rules which empowered Latinos and secured our right to access the internet without discrimination,” Carmen Scurato vice president, policy and general counsel of the organisation, said in a statement urging the House “to move this CRA forward."

Despite calls for FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to temporarily suspend the vote on net neutrality until an investigation into fake comments on the public docket could be completed, the commission decided in December to repeal the regulations put in place under the Obama administration, prompting criticism that the move would not only choke freedom but would compromise security and privacy.

“The removal of net neutrality is likely to decrease transparency on the internet, and less transparency will increase cyber-security threats,” Tim Erlin, vice president, product management and strategy at Tripwire, said at the time, noting that ISPs will implement different behaviours to manage, filter and alter content, which means “we're going to develop towards a bunch of different internets,” rather than a single Internet. “It may not be at the forefront of the net neutrality debate, but these changes will ultimately increase the attack surface available to criminals. If ISPs are no longer required to pass traffic unaltered, they can simply stop end-to-end encryption entirely.”

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