California - Oppose SB 460 | Council For Citizens Against Government Waste

California - Oppose SB 460

State Action

January 10, 2018

Dear legislators,

On behalf of the 259,892 members and supporters of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) in California, I urge you to oppose SB 460.

The internet is not contained within a single state’s boundaries and therefore the participants in the internet ecosystem, including internet service providers, can only be regulated by the federal government under the Commerce Clause, Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution.

SB 460 is a direct and misguided reaction to the December 14, 2017 adoption of the Restoring Internet Freedom Order by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).  The order simply restored the internet’s proper classification as an information service, as was intended under the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and the agreement between then-President Bill Clinton and Congress to regulate the internet with a light touch.

The internet developed and flourished in that environment and became one of the greatest innovations in history, creating millions of jobs and creating a global explosion in technological innovation.  However, in February 2015, the FCC voted to impose on the internet a heavy-handed regulatory regime embedded in Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, originally intended to control a landline, copper-wire telephone monopoly.  These regulations did nothing to instill internet freedom, but instead stifled innovation and investment, and were particularly harmful to smaller internet service providers.

The December 2017 FCC order merely restores the longtime, bipartisan, pre-2015 regulatory classification for this engine of innovation and economic growth.  The order also reinstates the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) ability to investigate privacy and consumer protection violations by broadband internet service providers, and strengthens its enforcement capabilities by increasing transparency requirements. 

Efforts to undermine the December 2017 FCC order, like SB 460, could result in 50 different regulatory schemes for the internet.  Enactment of this legislation would create a patchwork of regulations that could be impossible for internet service providers to navigate.  It would also create wasteful spending of taxpayer funds since there is little doubt that federal courts would find any such state law to be unconstitutional. 

Much like the 2015 Open Internet Order, SB 460 represents an unnecessary, costly solution in search of a problem and should be rejected.



Thomas A. Schatz


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