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California joins Montana and New York in creating state Net Neutrality rules

The FCC's order killing Net Neutrality in December 2016 also includes a prohibition on states making their own telcoms rules that restore it (this is a mixed bag -- if states' rights don't permit them to overrule the FCC, then a future FCC that reinstates a Net Neutrality order could stop states whose governments are captured by telcoms lobbyists from subverting it), and states have fought back though a loophole: the governors of Montana and New York have issued executive orders banning non-Neutral ISPs from doing business with the government; but in California, the State Senate just went further.

The State Senate just passed a motion prohibiting blocking, throttling and paid prioritization by landline and mobile ISPs under threat of injunction and financial damages, with a 21-12 vote split on partisan lines; the bill now goes to the Assembly where there is a strong Democratic majority of 53-25.

The bill also mirrors provisions from the Montana and New York executive orders, banning state agencies from sourcing internet service from ISPs unless they swear on penalty of perjury to uphold Net Neutrality principles.

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Throttling would also be outlawed, along with "paid prioritization, or providing preferential treatment of some Internet traffic to any Internet customer." More generally, the bill prohibits ISPs from interfering with "a customer's ability to select, access, and use broadband Internet access service or lawful Internet content, applications, services, or devices of the customer's choice, or an edge provider's ability to make lawful content, applications, services, or devices available to a customer."

ISPs would be forbidden from using deceptive or misleading marketing practices "that misrepresent the treatment of Internet traffic or content to its customers."

Violations would be punishable under the state's existing consumer protection laws, which allow for injunctions and financial damages. The California bill would also prohibit state agencies from buying Internet service from an ISP "unless that provider certifies, under penalty of perjury, that it will not engage in" the activities banned by the bill.

California Senate defies FCC, approves net neutrality law [Jon Brodkin/Ars Technica]

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