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FCC repeal of net neutrality rules to take effect in April

FCC repeal of net neutrality rules to take effect in April

Understanding Net Neutrality

FCC repeal of net neutrality rules to take effect in April

America’s net neutrality rules are set to end in April after the Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal them late last year, according to an order filed Thursday with the Federal Register.

>> Read more trending news

The repeal is set to take effect April 23, according to the order.

The Republican-led FCC voted in December to repeal net neutrality rules, which aimed to stop broadband companies from exercising more control over what people watch and see on the internet.

>> Related: Net neutrality vote: FCC OKs repeal of Obama-era rules

The broadband industry promised that the internet experience wouldn’t change, but critics argued that the Obama-era rules were needed to prevent broadband providers like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T from having the power to censor content on the internet. 

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who put forth the planned repeal and voted in its favor, dismissed the concerns last year.

“The sky is not falling,” he said. “Consumers will remain protected and the internet will continue to thrive. … Quite simply, we are restoring the light-touch framework that has governed the internet for most of its existence.”

>> Related: 5 things to know about the FCC’s net neutrality repeal

Still, Thursday’s filing was expected to open the door to challengers of the decision, The Hill reported.

“Now that the new rules have officially been published, net neutrality supporters are able to mount a legal challenge against them,” according to the news site. “Democratic attorneys general, public interest groups and internet companies have all promised to file lawsuits to preserve the 2015 protections.”

The attorneys general of 20 states and tech companies filed suits last month to halt the repeal, according to CNN.

>> Related: State attorneys general ask FCC to delay net neutrality vote

Denelle Dixon, chief business and legal officer at Mozilla, wrote in a post on the tech company's blog that Mozilla refiled a challenge to the repeal "immediately after the order was published."

"We won't waste a minute in our fight to protect net neutrality because it's our mission to ensure the internet is a global public resource, open and accessible to all," she wrote. "An internet that truly puts people first, where individuals can shape their own experience and are empowered, safe and independent."

Votes fell along party lines in December, with the FCC board’s Republicans favoring the repeal and the two Democrats on the board voting against it.

>> Related: New York AG investigating fraudulent net neutrality comments to FCC

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, who voted against the repeal, said in a statement released Thursday that the FCC has “failed the American public.”

“It turned a blind eye to all kinds of corruption in our public record – from Russian intervention to fake comments to stolen identities in our files,” she said.

Before December’s vote, the attorneys general of nearly 20 states asked the FCC to delay its decision based on evidence that impersonators posted hundreds of thousands of fake comments on the commissions’ notice of the proposed rule change. Despite the appeal, the vote went on as scheduled.

“As a result of the mess the agency created, broadband providers will now have the power to block websites, throttle services and censor online content,” Rosenworcel said. “This is not right. The FCC is on the wrong side of history and the wrong side of the law and it deserves to have its handiwork revisited, reexamined and ultimately reversed.”

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The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • A week after the feds announced the largest budget deficit in February in six years, the national debt edged over $21 trillion for the first time ever on Monday, as budget experts argue the U.S. is on a track that will likely again feature yearly deficits of $1 trillion, a level reached only during the Obama Administration. “This is unsustainable,” said Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI). The $21 trillion debt milestone was hit as lawmakers in Congress were trying to place the finishing touches on a giant Omnibus funding bill which will increase deficits by well over $100 billion in 2018, because of extra spending approved for both domestic and defense accounts. Even before that, budget watchdogs were warning of a new tide of red ink in the Trump Administration. “Thanks to the recent budget-busting tax cuts and spending deal, the national debt is skyrocketing and on an unsustainable course,” said Maya MacGuineas, head of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. $21,031,067,004,766.25 (+) #NationalDebt — National Debt Tweets (@NationalDebt) March 16, 2018 The February budget numbers had two main reasons why the monthly deficit jumped to $215 billion – up from $192 billion in 2017 – less revenue coming in to Uncle Sam, and more spending. Tax revenues were $155 billion in February, down from $171 billion a year ago. While deficits are heading back up, there’s no hint of action in the Congress on any plan to restrain spending, though only a handful GOP lawmakers publicly grumbled about the situation, as they waited to see what exactly was in the Omnibus. What’s in the omnibus bill that will fund the entire country on Wednesday? No one can tell you for sure. The deadline was sept 30, 2017. It’s probably the only consequential bill that will pass this year. There is a serious problem with this process! — Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) March 20, 2018 As early as Wednesday, the House plans to vote on a trillion-dollar spending bill—stuffed with all sorts of unrelated measures—and we don’t even have the text. That’s insane. This leadership team has found a way to make the process worse than existed under @SpeakerBoehner. — Justin Amash (@justinamash) March 19, 2018 But the Omnibus has become almost a normal spending tool for Congress, unable to get through the dozen yearly spending bills on time. For the current 2018 Fiscal Year, lawmakers were supposed to have finished 12 funding measures by October 1 of last year – but that spending work has only been completed on time in four of the last 43 years – one reason there are calls to overhaul the system.
  • As federal, state and local authorities in Texas deal with a string of deadly bombings in Austin, residents in Alabama and Georgia are reminded of a similar terror that arrived under the name of Eric Robert Rudolph. Rudolph’s reign of terror began at Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park, where the 1996 Olympic Summer Games were underway. Revelers were enjoying the festive atmosphere when, around 1:20 a.m. on July 27, an explosion rocked the park. Two people died and another 110 were injured. Related: ‘Serial bomber’ suspected in Austin explosions, police say The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on the 20th anniversary of the bombing that security guard Richard Jewell, who was having trouble with rowdy college kids, went for backup and found Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent Tom Davis. When they returned to the area where the kids had been, Jewell spotted an abandoned backpack. Bomb specialists they called in to deal with the backpack took a look -- and ordered them to evacuate the area immediately, the Journal-Constitution reported. Jewell, Davis and other law enforcement officers cleared the area, including a nearby TV camera tower. That’s when the bomb exploded. “It was just a huge explosion,” Davis told the Journal-Constitution in 2016. “A very loud explosion and a lot of heat. It forced me to the ground. I just saw people laying everywhere, many of them screaming and hurt severely.” Davis was one of the more than 100 who were injured by shrapnel from the bomb. Nearby, he could see the body of Alice Hawthorne, a 44-year-old mother from Albany who had traveled to Atlanta with her daughter to see the games.  The second person who died that night was Melih Uzunyol, a Turkish journalist who suffered a fatal heart attack as he rushed to the scene, the Journal-Constitution reported.  Jewell, who is now considered a hero for saving the lives of more than two dozen people, was initially considered a suspect in the case. Though he was cleared about three months after the bombing, the cloud of suspicion hung over his head until Rudolph’s arrest. Jewell died of a heart attack in 2007 at age 44. Rudolph, who years later issued a detailed manifesto outlining his anti-abortion, anti-gay beliefs, next bombed an abortion clinic in January 1997 in the Atlanta suburb of Sandy Springs. About a month later, he bombed an Atlanta lesbian bar, the Otherside Lounge, injuring five of the patrons there.  In both of those bombings, Rudolph had planted secondary bombs timed to detonate after police and emergency personnel had arrived, the New York Times reported at the time. In the Sandy Springs bombing at Atlanta Northside Family Planning Services, it was the second bomb that injured six people, including detectives and reporters covering the first explosion.  Police investigating the bombing at the Otherside Lounge found the second bomb in a backpack in the parking lot, the Times reported. The Atlanta Police Department’s bomb squad used a robot to detonate the device.  Rhonda Armstrong, a bartender at the club, told the Times a few days after the bombing that patrons at first thought someone had shot a woman there. “She rolled her sleeve up and had a spike nail through her arm,” Armstrong told the newspaper.  All of Rudolph’s bombs were similar in that they used nails and other shrapnel to maim and kill his victims. Related: For investigators, a race to decode hidden messages in Austin bombings His final bombing took place Jan. 29, 1998, at New Woman All Women Health Care in Birmingham, where he left a FedEx box packed with dynamite and nails in some bushes near the entrance. As nurse Emily Lyons arrived for work around 7:30 a.m. that morning, she and clinic security guard Robert “Sandy” Sanderson -- also an off-duty Birmingham police officer -- spotted the package.  As soon as Sanderson touched the package, it exploded, sending shrapnel through his body and killing him instantly, according to AL.com. Lyons survived the blast, but lost an eye and was left with chronic injuries and pain.  The bombing was the first fatal bombing of an abortion clinic in the United States. It was in Birmingham that Rudolph finally slipped up. He used a remote device to detonate the bomb, watching from a distance the explosion that killed Sanderson and maimed Lyons. A University of Alabama in Birmingham student who felt his dormitory shake from the blast ran outside. That alert pre-med student, Jermaine Hughes, noticed the sort of odd behavior that, decades later, would help federal investigators pin down the Boston Marathon bombers. As everyone within blocks of the explosion ran toward the devastation, Rudolph walked in the opposite direction.  Suspicious, Hughes jumped into his car and drove around Rudolph, who was on foot, to get a good look at his face. Then he ran into a nearby McDonald’s and called police, the Los Angeles Times reported.  Jeff Tickal, a lawyer in Birmingham from Opelika, was there eating breakfast when he heard Hughes urging the dispatcher to send help. When he also spotted Rudolph, Tickal began following him.  Seeing Rudolph disappear into some woods, Tickal got in his own car and began looking for the suspicious man. By happenstance, he found the road where Rudolph had hidden his truck and watched as Rudolph emerged from the woods. Tickal followed him when he drove away, writing Rudolph’s license plate number on his coffee cup from breakfast, the Los Angeles Times reported. He pulled up beside Rudolph at a light and got a look at his face.  When the light turned green, Rudolph drove on and Tickal sought out a police officer. By that time, Hughes had also spotted Rudolph behind the wheel and jotted down the truck’s license plate number on an envelope he had in his car. The combined actions of Tickal and Hughes gave a name to the bomber.  >> Read more trending news Richard D. Schwein Jr., who in 2014 retired from the FBI as the special agent in charge of the Birmingham division, told AL.com in 2013 that identifying Rudolph underscored the importance of those witnesses.  “This kid saw Rudolph as an anomaly, much like (in) the Boston bombings,” Schwein said. “Everybody else was going in one direction; this guy was going in another direction. Everybody else was kind of in a panic and he was calm. And the witness thought right away, ‘This has got to be the bomber,’ and followed him.” Law enforcement descended on Rudolph’s North Carolina home, but he was nowhere to be found. He was soon on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list, but it would be another five years before the avid outdoorsman and survivalist, who vanished in the mountains, would be captured.  The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said it was ultimately a small-town police officer who brought one of the largest manhunts in U.S. history to an end. Jeff Postell, a 21-year-old rookie on the Murphy, North Carolina, police force was on patrol around 3 a.m. May 31, 2003, when he spotted a man rummaging for food in a dumpster behind a grocery store. Though the man, later identified as Rudolph, tried to hide, he was taken into custody. Rudolph pleaded guilty to all four bombings in April 2005 to avoid the death penalty, the New York Times reported. He was sentenced to four life sentences without the possibility of parole.  He remained unrepentant for his actions and, in a statement before the court, called his violent acts against abortion providers a “moral duty.” “As I go to a prison cell for a lifetime, I know that ‘I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith,’” Rudolph said, quoting scripture.  Birmingham clinic bombing survivor Emily Lyons called Rudolph a coward. “I have more guts in my broken little finger than you have in your whole body,” Lyons said, according to the New York Times.  Rudolph is housed at the Florence Supermax federal prison in Colorado, sometimes called the “Alcatraz of the Rockies.” He self-published his autobiography, “Between the Lines of Drift: The Memoirs of a Militant,” with help from his brother in 2013.  Rudolph is unable to receive any proceeds or otherwise benefit from his crimes. 
  • Police in Austin continue to investigate a series of explosions that have claimed two lives and left at least four other people injured. Here is the latest information: >> READ MORE: Photos: Austin police investigate explosions | For investigators, a race to decode hidden message in Austin bombings | Map shows location of 4 Austin bombs | Austin explosions: 2 men hurt in fourth blast this month | Officials increase reward to $115,000 for information on Austin bombings | Man held in SXSW threat ruled out as bomb suspect, police say | Austin package explosions: 3 blasts appear connected, claim 2 lives, police say | The Roots' SXSW show canceled after bomb threat; man arrested | Austin package bombings: Friends remember victims Draylen Mason, Anthony House | MORE
  • A man accused of threatening to bomb The Roots’ show during South by Southwest last weekend told a producer via email that he would “watch everyone die,” according to court documents. >> Read more trending news Trevor Weldon Ingram, 26, faces a charge of a making a terroristic threat, a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. An arrest affidavit made public on Monday said the producer called police after receiving two emails from a Gmail account belonging to “t9ingram” just after 3 p.m. Saturday. The first email said, “(Expletive) u I’m gonna pant a bomb and watch everyone die,” misspelling the word “plant.” The second email said only “BOMB,” the affidavit said. Austin police sent its bomb squad out to the Fair Market Venue, where the concert was scheduled, and used bomb-sniffing dogs to sweep the area. Neither Austin police dogs or Travis County Sheriff’s Office dogs found any sign of an explosive device. >> Related: Man held in SXSW threat ruled out as bomb suspect, police say Still, event promoters canceled the event, saying it was done out of an abundance of caution. Investigators searched the Texas Department of Public Safety’s driver’s license database and identified Ingram as the suspect. >> Related: The Roots' SXSW show canceled after bomb threat; man arrested He was the registered account holder of the Gmail account and had already been investigated by Austin police in February for making threats against eBay employees from the same email address, according to authorities. The threats began on Feb. 16 and included messages like “I hope you die in a horrible car crash,” “(Expletive) you. You will die slow,” and “I have 10k on everyone’s head in the Austin office,” the affidavit said.
  • Actor Jim Carrey has been getting a lot of heat after his tweet on March 17  of a portrait he made. The portrait is being said to closely resemble White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders with a caption that reads “This is the portrait of a so-called Christian whose only purpose in life is to lie for the wicked. Monstrous!” Criticism about the portrait lead to Carrey’s next portrait tweeted two days later with a caption that read “If you liked my last cartoon you may also enjoy... ‘THE WICKED WITCH OF THE WEST WING AND PUTIN’S FLYING MONKEYS’”  These portraits are only a few of the cartoons Carrey has been posting on his Twitter that are heavily political.