UN Special Rapporteur concerned about FCC’s plans to roll back net neutrality

David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, and Edison Lanza, Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights have filled comments raising concerns over the US Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) plans to roll back net neutrality rules. In their comments, Kaye and Lanza ‘stress the obligation of the US government – and by extension, the Commission – to respect and protect the right to freedom of opinion and expression’ and express concerns that the repeal or weakening of the no blocking, no throttling, and no paid prioritisation rules ‘will permit broadband providers to block or throttle Internet traffic associated with competing services, or charge more for access to certain types of Internet data at regular speeds, such as video streams’. Similar concerns are expressed with regard to the proposed repeal of the Internet Conduct Standard and the possible repeal or weakening of the transparency rule. In their conclusions, the two rapporteurs note ‘serious concern with the proposed rule changes, which may significantly roll back protections for net neutrality and unduly interfere with freedom of expression online in the United States’. The FCC is urged ‘to take all steps necessary to conduct a comprehensive review of its proposed rule changes, and ensure their compliance with applicable international standards’.