Jeff sez, "Instead of waiting for Congress to pass a bill to enforce Net Neutrality, net activists should take a cue from Pittsburgh, whose city council recently passed groundbreaking legislation banning fracking (an environmentally polluting form of natural gas drilling). While fracking and Net Neutrality have little in common, Pittsburgh's ordinance uses powerful legal concepts that may be useful for preserving Internet freedoms.
Like Pittsburgh has done with fracking, any community can enact an ordinance that enforces Net Neutrality at the local level, as the Internet Freedom, Broadband Promotion, and Consumer Protection Act of 2011 aspires to do at the federal level. And, they can do so now ... without waiting for Congress.
Firstly, the Pittsburgh ordinance enforces the right of communities to democratic self-governance. Second, the ordinance strips corporations of their Constitutional rights if they seek to engage in fracking. The organization that assisted Pittsburgh in drafting the ordinance explains how these ordinances are designed to work:"
The ordinance seeks to undo over a hundred years' worth of law in the United States which gives corporations greater rights than the communities in which they do business. Those rights come in two primary forms -- first are corporate constitutional rights and powers (including court-bestowed constitutional rights of persons, or 'personhood' rights), and second, are corporate rights that have been codified by statewide laws, which liberate the corporation from local control in individual issue areas.
When a community makes a decision which runs afoul of either of those corporate rights frameworks, corporate decisionmakers use the courts to throw out the community's decision. If a municipality bans a State-permitted activity, it gets sued for 'taking' the corporation's property as a constitutional violation. If it attempts to legislate in an area in which the State has created a regulatory program which permits the activity, the community then gets sued by the corporation for violating preemptive state law.
I admit I'm not entirely convinced by this approach. I've been talking it over in email with Thomas Linzey, counsel for the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund in Spokane, Washington. He suggests that the legal principle here expand the rights of natural people, and that this is fundamentally different from a "states' rights" approach that gives rise to, say, segregation. In the case of Net Neutrality, this seems mostly symbolic (since the FCC's jurisdiction is pretty clear), a way of reframing the debate and shifting opinion to make change at levels beyond the local.
Why Wait for Congress? Enforce Net Neutrality through Local Law
Sovereign immunity prevents one government from using its courts to attack another, but Chinese state-backed industries are taking it to new places, arguing that sovereign immunity means that the US courts have no jurisdiction over Chinese companies whose products are harmful or whose conduct is negligent — and US courts are buying that argument.
On Monday, Greenpeace leaked the highly confidential negotiating drafts of the TTIP, a top-secret, big-business-friendly trade agreement between the USA and the EU.
Jeff writes, “Combined, Washington State is providing Microsoft and Boeing $1 billion annually in tax breaks. Cumulatively, Microsoft’s state tax has saved its shareholders $8.6 billion in costs. While the company quietly surpassed $1 trillion in all time revenue, its home state faces emergencies in education funding, homelessness, heroin addiction and escalating crime.”
If you’ve got a killer app idea, but don’t have the technical expertise to pull it off, get a crash course in all things app development with the Comprehensive Android Development Bundle, now over 90% off in the Boing Boing Store. Across 83 hours of training, you’ll learn to develop for the world’s most popular mobile OS, mastering […]
Jared Sinclair developed the RSS reader app Unread, which made $10,000 in its first 24 hours on the iOS market. And we’ve all heard the story of Flappy Bird developer Dong Nguyen, whose creation was reportedly earning $50,000 a day at the height of its 2013 explosion. While those are rare examples, they’re also testament to the […]
If you or your company’s IT system are besieged by black hat cyber attacks, an ethical hacker might be all that stands between crippling damage and a company’s long-term prosperity. It’s no wonder that the market for IT security specialists is exploding. Certification is the key – so learn the tenets of ethical hacking and get […]