Yesterday, a group of former telecommunications officials filed a brief in the case of Verizon v. FCC, currently on appeal in the District of Columbia federal appeals court. The Cyberlaw Clinic assisted with research in the preparation of this brief, which responds to Verizon’s radical argument that the First Amendment denies Congress the power to protect end-users from Verizon’s censorship and content-based discrimination. You read that right – Verizon argues that Congress must allow a private gatekeeper unfettered power to selectively block or slow down access to ideas over the Internet, cynically relying on the First Amendment for an argument that is completely at odds with free speech values.
The brief encourages the court to emphatically reject Verizon’s argument and to affirm that the information utilities on which we rely are subject to laws designed to protect consumers and the public discourse needed for a free society.
The full brief may be found here.