Op-Ed: The Supreme Court could upend the internet. How?
The US Supreme Court could upend the internet in 2018. They’re in the midst of a series of historic cases regarding internet censorship and privacy, and a new report suggests that the country’s highest court may be the key to preventing censorship of the internet.
The US Supreme Court took up the issue of ‘net neutrality’ – the idea that the internet should be open and transparent – in June, and on Monday the justices discussed their next step. The issue currently before the court comes down to whether internet service providers should be given the legal right to discriminate against internet content on the basis of quality, with or without the service provider having to provide equal access.
While the current case is about whether internet service providers will be allowed to charge for prioritization of certain websites – ie their ability to ‘shoulder’ the cost of internet performance – the potential endgame could be to overturn the current internet law on net neutrality, and create something akin to net neutrality zones.
“We’re not trying to be prescriptive about what happens with this,” Justice Antonin Scalia said at the hearing. “We’re trying to give the justices to give their opinion on what is permissible and what is not.”
The court is preparing for oral arguments on the subject late this year, and the debate could soon enter a new, and potentially devastating, phase.
“It’s possible that we could overturn the entire internet law,” says Scott Aaronson, associate director of the Open Telecom Institute at the NYU School of Law.
That’s because there’s already bipartisan agreement in Congress that a number of internet laws should be overturned – most notably net neutrality – a position the Republican party strongly endorses.
“You don’t want a government monopoly on the internet,” Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) said at a news conference in support of