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
Retired Brigadier General John Adams served for 30 years, including a stint as a military intelligence officer: in an op-ed in The Hill, he says that while he supports trade deals, the secretive Trans Pacific Partnership has almost nothing to do with trade, and will hasten America’s de-industrialization, making it harder for the US military […]
Francis Gurry, the fair-use hating, web-hating, North Korea embargo-breaking, witch-hunting, blackmailing head of the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has a new pick to run copyright at the UN agency: Sylvie Forbin, a lobbyist for for French entertainment giant Vivendi.
CETA — the “Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement” is a secretly negotiated deal between Canada and the EU, mirroring many of the most controversial provisions in notorious deals like ACTA, TPP, and TTIP — including the “corporate sovereignty” clauses that permit multinational corporations to sue governments in closed courts, and force them to repeal environmental, […]
If you’re looking to earn a top salary in the tech industry, there’s no better career than coding. However, sometimes the hardest part of entering this career path is knowing where to begin.We took the Complete Web Developer Course because it took that decision out of our hands. This course teaches beginner-friendly coding languages that will also help land an immediate […]
To be a Pokémon master, you’ll need a phone that won’t constantly die on you. Because nothing is worse than seeing the screen go black right as you’ve finally found the Charizard of your dreams.That’s why we’re so excited about the LinearFlux PokeCharger Portable Battery ($39.99). With its 3.0 Amp HyperCharging technology, this slim battery will […]
The tech industry is constantly innovating, and in order to stay competitive, you’ll need to keep up. The Programming Into the Future Bundle was created to teach you the skills employers are looking for at this very moment, including in-demand coding languages like Google Go.The bundle of courses includes instruction on a range of innovative tools that advanced coders […]