ILLINOIS (WCIA) — The Illinois Attorney General wants to keep the internet the way it is. That’s why she’s taking legal action: to try to keep it that way.
Illinois is one of at least 17-states planning to sue the Federal Communications Commission. It’s after the FCC voted to rollback net neutrality rules last week.
Those rules prevent internet providers from favoring or blocking certain websites. Depending on how the lawsuits go, they could stop the rules from changing, but if they don’t, the internet will no longer be treated as a utility, like a phone service.
It means, internet providers could block pages or charge more for access to certain sites; something many people are against.
Steve Granda doesn’t mince words when it comes to the recent repeal of net neutrality.
“I think it’s a bad idea.”
He knows a little something about the internet.
“I’m a research programmer at the Information Trust Institute for the University of Illinois.”
He deals with cyberattacks and internet infrastructure for a living, but he says one of the biggest threats to the web is this repeal. He says it favors companies and people with money and makes the internet less universally accessible.
“I believe more companies, more people should sue. I think, if we don’t fight, our rights are going to be taken incrementally.”
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has joined a coalition with other states to do just that.
She says, “The commission disregarded the overwhelming view of the public and ignored the legal precedent upholding the existing net neutrality rules.”
“I think that’s great.”
Mark Goodline supports the lawsuit; one reason being he thinks it will protect his pocketbook.
“I’m just concerned that it might allow these companies that are already making a killing, to make more money off the consumer.”
Since the repeal, many internet providers have claimed things will continue to operate like normal and say they won’t block pages or raise prices for different sites.
“What I am saying is that it is not the job of the government to be in the business of picking winners and losers in the internet economy. We should have a level playing field and let consumers decide.”
But, Granda says the scary thing is what providers could choose to decide for them.
“The bottom line is who has the most money to pay for serving people what they want to serve?”
People who support the repeal say net neutrality rules were too strict and the government was too involved.
Some also believe the internet isn’t a public service, like gas or electric. Instead, they say it should be treated like any other product.
If you’re having a hard time understanding net neutrality, think of it this way. Without those rules, some worry access to the internet could be treated like access to TV.
For example, if you want Netflix, you might also have to pay for other sites you don’t use. Regardless, any changes like that are a ways off. It could be years before the full effect of the repeal is felt.