Monday, June 27, 2005


BRAND-X decision "grave threat" to Internet openness, Center for Digital Democracy says

[from the Center for Digital Democracy:]

Supreme Court's Brand X Decision Endangers the Principle of Net Neutrality
Court Strikes a Blow Against Freedom Online
Battle Now Goes to Congress and the American Public

Note: CDD was one of the petitioners in this case, along with Consumers
Union and the Consumer Federation of America. The Media Access Project
served as legal counsel for CDD.

Washington, DC: Today's decision by the Supreme Court to overturn the
Ninth Circuit Court's classification of cable modems as a
"telecommunications service" (and thus subject to the open access
regulations that have long governed the dial-up Internet) poses a grave
threat to the future of the Internet.

By upholding the FCC's March 2002 Declaratory Ruling that classified cable
Internet as an unregulated "information service," the Supreme Court has
paved the way for a privatized, tightly controlled broadband environment
that will bear little resemblance to the open, diverse, and competitive
Internet of the past.

As the ACLU warned in its Brand X brief to the Supreme Court, ".cable
companies can leverage ownership of the physical infrastructure into
control of citizens. access to and use of the Internet. This threatens
free speech and privacy. A cable company that has complete control over
its customers. access to the Internet could censor their ability to speak,
block their access to disfavored information services, monitor their
online activity, and subtly manipulate the information sources they rely

The decision now leaves the vast majority of broadband households in the
US at the mercy of just two companies--the local cable monopoly or one of
four remaining "Baby Bells"--for their connections to what the courts once
described as ". the most participatory form of mass speech yet
developed.." They will operate these networks as the same top-down
monopolies that have dominated both the cable and local telephone

.Today the Court struck a blow against freedom online," said Jeff Chester,
CDD.s executive director. .The Internet they have bestowed promotes the
interest of a few big media companies against the best interests of the
public--in the U.S. and globally. It.s time that Congress heard from
Americans that Big Media shouldn.t be allowed to control the future of the


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