Writing in separate briefs, former FCC Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth and the Center for Boundless Innovation in Technology argues that the rules violate the First Amendment right of Internet providers to display the speech they choose, the Washington Examiner reports.
“If rules such as these are not reviewed under the most rigorous scrutiny possible, government favoritism and censorship masquerading as ‘neutrality’ will soon cascade to other forms of mass communication,” the center argues.
Furchtgott-Roth argues that the differentiation between content providers and broadband providers is an unconstitutional division. “In addition to compelling speech, the order impermissibly singles out broadband providers without imposing similar requirements on the speech of other Internet entities who also act as gatekeepers,” his brief states.
While the rules have yet to apply to such gatekeepers, observers have warned that may come if net neutrality is allowed to stand.
“If the court upholds the FCC’s rules, the agency’s authority over the Internet would extend from one end to the other,” Fred Campbell, president of the Center for Boundless Innovation in Technology, told the Washington Examiner. “Because the same theories the FCC relied on to impose its new regulations on Internet service providers are also applicable to companies like Apple and Netflix, the FCC could extend its regulatory reach much further in the future.”