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Justice Department sues California over law protecting net neutrality

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California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Sunday to guard net neutrality protections, a move that immediately drew a lawsuit from the Justice Department. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI

By Nicholas Sakelaris, UPI

California could become a battleground for net neutrality with the U.S. Department of Justice challenging a new state law that prohibits Internet providers from slowing customer speeds.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Sunday to provide net neutrality protections, which was followed immediately by the federal lawsuit.

Senate Bill 822 bars Internet service providers from slowing, or throttling, speeds, blocking access to lawful content and offering fast lanes for Google, Facebook and Netflix.

"Once again, the California legislature has enacted an extreme and illegal state law attempting to frustrate federal policy," U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. "The Justice Department should not have to spend valuable time and resources to file this suit."

California's bill is similar to Obama-era regulations that were repealed by the Trump administration earlier this year.

The United States Telecom Association could also challenge the California law, saying net neutrality is best handled by the federal government.

"Rather than 50 states stepping in with their own conflicting open internet solutions, we need Congress to step up with a national framework for whole internet ecosystem and resolve this issue once and for all," the association said in a statement.

California Sen. Scott Wiener said the bill protects a free and open society and the exchange of ideas.

"Net neutrality, at its core, is the basic notion that we each get to decide where we go on the internet, as opposed to having that decision made for us by internet service providers," Wiener said. "It's also about ensuring a level playing field for ideas and for businesses trying to compete."

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra supports the bill, saying the Trump administration is ignoring calls for strong net neutrality rules.

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U.S. - U.S. Daily News: Justice Department sues California over law protecting net neutrality
Justice Department sues California over law protecting net neutrality
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U.S. - U.S. Daily News
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