The international and domestic consequences of failing to protect net neutrality in the US

In The Price of Paid Prioritization: The International and Domestic Consequences of the Failure to Protect Net Neutrality in the United States, 16 Geo. J. Int’l Aff. 98 (2015), Arturo Carrillo and Dawn Nunziato examine international trade and human rights obligations of the United States as they relate to net neutrality to determine the extent to which the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order complies with those obligations. From the abstract:

The authors argue that the 2015 FCC Order, contrary to its predecessors, largely meets the requirements of the international trade and human rights treaties to which the United States is a party. … Even so, we conclude that gaps in the 2015 Rules mean that the United States may still be liable under international law for potential failures to ensure that net neutrality and nondiscrimination principles are adequately protected. In particular, the dual issues of zero-rating and interconnection remain as potential threats to strong net neutrality in this country. This is because, as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and a party to the ICCPR, the United States is bound to respect principles of nondiscrimination and free expression when regulating essential communications media like the Internet. Any FCC rule that does not meaningfully protect net neutrality at all levels of interconnectivity would run afoul of these international obligations and expose the United States to legal action by other governments and individuals prejudiced by its actions.

Recommended. For a brief LLB backgrounder, see Net neutrality: If the Internet is not a utility, what is it? — Joe

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